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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: SAHRC Celebrates 25 Years of a Constitutional Democracy with All South Africans, However, Recognises that Much Must be Achieved in the Full Realisation of Human Rights

Attention Editors and Reporters
26th April 2019

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC or Commission) celebrates twenty five years of democracy with all in South Africa.

Through negotiation and dialogue, South Africa managed to rid itself of a dark history based on the inequality of colonialism and apartheid. The 27th April 1994, marks the date South Africa held its first truly inclusive, free and fair democratic elections. For the first time, all could participate in a fundamental expression of civil and political rights and vote in a national election and choose their political leadership despite race, gender or class.
These elections held the promise of a South Africa for all; where freedom, equality and dignity would be upheld as the defining core values for all in South Africa. The elections held on the 27th April 1994 gave all South Africans the hope of eliminating inequality based in race.

The Commission acknowledges the advances made over the past twenty five years in entrenching a constitutional democracy, including relatively free, fair and non-violent elections. The Commission therefore urges all South African citizens and leaders of political parties to maintain this legacy of free, fair and non-violent elections and using this as an opportunity for South Africans to unite amidst robust political debate, for the pending elections on the 8th May 2019.

Nevertheless, the twenty five years also highlights worrying developments such as corruption, violence – particularly directed at women and children -, inequality, poverty and unemployment. These developments, if not limited, could derail the positive advances made.

However, the past twenty five years also offer us an opportunity to reflect on the past and the future we want as South Africans, a future for a better life for all and greater enjoyment of rights for all.

The Commission remains committed to its mandate as set out in section 184 of the Constitution; to protect, promote and monitor the attainment of human rights as set out in the Bill of Rights; and reminds government, other Chapter Nine Institutions, civil society, the business community, the faith-based community and ordinary people throughout South Africa that the optimism and the vision of twenty five years ago is all our responsibility to realise.

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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gail Smith – Spokesperson Tel: 060 988 3792 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

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.

Braampark Forum 3, 33 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)

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