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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SA still characterised by deep inequalities‚ says human rights watchdog

21 February 2017

South African continues to be characterised by deep and growing inequalities‚ says the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The human rights watchdog was presenting its Human Rights Budget Speech in Johannesburg‚ which was delivered by Daniel McLaren‚ senior researcher at the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII).
“Despite the promise of our Constitution‚ South Africa continues to be characterised by deep and growing inequalities. For the first time‚ every aspect of this year’s budget is guided by the Constitution.

“A macro-economic policy for social development and stability cannot continue to be based on dreams of high growth rates in the medium-term. The nature of poverty and inequality in SA‚ manufactured by centuries of colonialism and apartheid‚ is such that redistribution must play central role‚” McLaren said.

“The ‘democratic dividend of hope’ has begun to fade for many‚ and it can seem that we are trapped in a ‘no hope’ economy. Desperation with poverty and inequality manifests daily in high levels of crime and protests around the country that are increasingly met with state force‚” he added. Addressing the issue of corruption‚ he said that whether it was improper spending on upgrades to the President’s private residence‚ petty crime in our streets or the rigging of currency markets to benefit a few banks and traders‚ crime hurt everyone.

He said the country had experienced a gradual loss of respect for the rule of law and that there should be a zero tolerance of corruption at all levels of government.

Amongst the many issues that must be located within the constitutional and human rights framework were matters of gender equality‚ children’s rights‚ the right to basic and higher education‚ the right to work‚ social security‚ work‚ health. Other major issues that needed to be addressed were the right to food‚ housing‚ water and sanitation and the right to land.

McLaren added that everyone in SA had the right to an environment that was not harmful to human health and well-being‚ and to have the environment protected by way of legislative measures.

source: Times Live

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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