#Socioeconomicissues – a brief look at the Bill of Rights
As mentioned before, socio economic issues are one of the topics that are close to my heart. I would like to try and do my part in tackling the issues that affect ordinary people from previously disadvantaged communities on a daily basis.
This topic was motivated mainly by the plight that I have seen in my community here in Komani and surroundings over the years. During my work travels across the country, I noticed that the daily struggles of our people are similar if not exactly the same in some cases. However, before we start looking at these socio-economic issues individually; I thought because we have just commemorated both Human Rights & Freedom Month – it is an opportune time for us to take a brief look at our Bill of Rights first.
I took some time to read our constitution and learnt a few things about our basic human rights. I therefore thought it wouldn‘t be such a bad idea for most of us to know what our basic constitutional rights are before we try and tackle the issues that affect us. This is just to reiterate some of the basic rights that have been articulated by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) before. Below are some of the most crucial rights that we should all know.
1) The Right to Equality – this is one of the most violated ones in SA, according to a 2017 report by SAHRC. It states that we are all equal and must be treated equally. No one has the right to discriminate against anyone else based on their race, gender, sex, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language or birth among others.
2) Human Dignity – Everyone has a right to dignity and have that dignity respected.
3) Life – The right to life means that nobody, not even the state, has the right to take a life. No person can be sentenced to death by the courts.
4) Freedom and Security – no one can be put in prison without good reason; be detained without trial; be tortured in any way or be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. All humans have a right to be free from all forms of violence from either public/private sources.
5) Arrested, Detained and Accused Persons – Any arrested person has a right to a lawyer and cannot be forced to speak or to make a confession. Prisoners must be kept in proper living conditions and may have visits from family members.
6) Personal Privacy – No one, not even the government, has the right to search anyone’s house or property or even have possessions seized without following the correct legal channels. The government cannot infringe on the privacy of your communication – this includes opening anyone’s mails or listen to phone calls.
7) Freedom of Expression – South Africans have the freedom to say, write or print what they want, but this right must never violate anyone else’s right or break the law in any way.
8) Freedom of Association – We have the right to associate with anyone we want to associate with. This means people have a right to associate with trade unions, political parties, or any other club or association, including religious denominations and organisations, fraternities/sports clubs.
9) Political Rights – We have the right to form a political party; to participate in the activities or recruit members for a political party and to campaign for a political party or cause. We have the right to free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution and every adult citizen has the right to vote in elections for any political party, and to do so in secret.
10) Education – We have the right to a basic education, including adult basic education and to further education.
11) Slavery, Servitude and Forced Labour – We have a right to choose who we want to work for and the kind of work we do, and we must be paid for your work. No-one can be forced to work for someone else.
12) Healthcare, Food, Water and Social Services – We have the right to access free health care services, including reproductive health care; sufficient food and water; social security including, if we are unable to support ourselves and our dependents- to be provided appropriate social assistance.
13) Citizenship – No-one’s South African citizenship can ever be taken away from them.
14) Housing – We have the right to have access adequate housing. The government cannot take our house away or evict us from our homes especially when we own it.
15) Children – All children have the right to parental care, shelter, and food. Children may not be neglected or abused or forced to work.
Next week, we will be focusing on Basic Financial Skills: Mistakes I made with money & Lessons I have learnt.
For more info, contact me on: C: +27 (0) 68 029 8760 (Voice-Calls); C: +27 (0) 78 675 1297 (WhatsApp) E: email@example.com AND Ora4117@gmail.com
Miranda Lusiba is the founding director of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR agency specialising in communications, freelance writing, media relations, reputation management and media training