Stats SA released a report in June 2018 giving more insight on crimes against women. During the study they asked South Africans whether women should have the same constitutional rights as men. It is estimated that 67% of men agreed with this statement, while 73% of women agreed. These percentages raise the question, “Do South Africans understand their constitutional rights?
We therefor would like to provide a short summary of the South African Bill of rights:
SUMMARY OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN BILL OF RIGHTS
- Equality: You cannot be discriminated against. But affirmative action and fair discrimination are allowed.
- Human Dignity: Your dignity must be respected and protected.
- Life: You have the right to life.
- Freedom and security of the person: You cannot be detained without trial, tortured or punished cruelly. Domestic violence is not allowed.
- Slavery, servitude and forced labour: Slavery and forced labour are not allowed.
- Privacy: You cannot be searched or have your home or possessions searched.
- Freedom of religion, belief and opinion: You can believe and think whatever you want and can follow the religion of your choice.
- Freedom of expression: All people (including the press) can say whatever they want.
- Assembly, demonstration, picket and petition: You can hold a demonstration, picket and present a petition. But you must do this peacefully.
- Freedom of association: You can associate with whomever you want to.
- Political rights: You can support the political party of your choice. If you are a citizen, and at least 18 years old, you can vote.
- Citizenship: Your citizenship cannot be taken away from you.
- Freedom of movement and residence: You can go and live anywhere in South Africa.
- Freedom of trade, occupation and profession: You can do whatever work you choose.
- Labour relations: You may join trade unions and go on strike.
- Environment: You have the right to a healthy environment.
- Property: Your property can only be taken away from you if the proper rules are followed.
- Housing: The government must make sure people get access to proper housing.
- Health care, food, water and social security: The government must make sure you have access to food and water; health care and social security.
- Children: Children under the age of 18 have special rights, like the right not to be abused.
- Education: You have the right to basic education, including adult basic education, in your own language (if this is possible).
- Language and culture: You can use the language you want to and follow the culture that you choose.
- Cultural, religious and linguistic communities: Communities can enjoy their own culture; practice their own religion; and use their own language.
- Access to information: You have the right to any information, which the government has.
- Just administrative action: Actions by the government must be fair.
- Access to courts: You can have a legal problem decided by a court, or a similar structure.
- Arrested, detained and accused persons: This right protects people who have been arrested, imprisoned or accused.
NOTE: All these rights can be limited if it would be fair to do so