SOUTH Africa boasts one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.
It protects and promotes our human rights and it is, arguably, one of the most pivotal points of the country’s democracy.
Without the constitution and adherence thereto, chaos would reign.
During Human Rights Day celebrations in King William’s Town on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma expressed concern about crime and its impact on the country.
This concern is shared by all South Africans who have been facing the increasing threat of violence over years.
Violence is a dominant factor which is resulting in higher walls and barred windows.
Children are being shot dead on the street in gang wars. Young people are becoming involved in drugs with a relentless spiral into a subsequent life of crime to support a habit until death claims them.
Crime is not always violent, however, although it may be just as damaging.
White collar crime, or people who abuse their positions to benefit from crimes such as fraud, including dubious tender deals, or people in government who enrich themselves at the expense of those needing service delivery, is just as serious a crime as any other.
So what do we do about it?
It has been stated time and again that the police can not fight crime alone and that community involvement is required.
That is why bodies such as community policing forums are so important.
Involvement, interest and active participation in the nation’s affairs in ensuring that everyone – including the country’s leaders – adheres to the constitution is just as imperative.
There are watchdog bodies that keep a close eye on our country’s affairs, including the public protector. Yet, it is a task which we have a responsibility – and a right – to be part of.
Watching that the human rights of all – whether they be safety, the right to a clean environment or the right to education – are protected requires vigilance and effort.
May this year’s Human Rights Day have spurred us all on to guard our constitution – and do so jealously.