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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Broad range of complaints reported regarding violations of human rights.

22 March 2019

The Commission accepted the highest number of complaints during the 2016/17 financial year.

As South Africans we will be commemorating Human Rights Day on March 21. The question remains if all South Africans still enjoy equal human rights.
According to the South African Human Rights commission the number of complaints accepted by the Commission has steadily risen from 1 518 accepted complaints at the end of the 2013/14 financial year to 2 486 at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.
According to Gail Smith, the spokesperson of the SAHRC, the Commission receives a broad range of complaints regarding violations of human rights.
Records of complaints reflect details of all or most of the rights violated by one act of violation.
For example, access to housing, water and sanitation, and discrimination on multiple grounds and intersecting grounds, such as race, gender, socio-economic status, and class.
“The Commission assesses complaints received and will either accept the matter, reject or refer it. Complaints are accepted if they evidence a prima facie violation of a human right.
“Rejected complaints are defined as those complaints where it has been determined that there is no human rights violation, the violation took place before 1994, or the matter is currently before another dispute resolution forum.
“Referred complaints are complaints that fall within the broad mandate of the Commission, but that may more appropriately be addressed by a body created in terms of statute to address such matters,” she said.
Smith highlighted that access to housing, water and sanitation remain key challenges.
“Housing evictions in the inner cities, on farms, informal settlements, and squatter camps are endemic all over the country.”
“A major factor in evictions and demolitions is a lack of access to housing and land, due to the critical shortage of housing in South Africa, inefficient and corrupt systems of allocation of housing and land by municipalities and provinces, and a lack of engagement by municipalities with affected communities.”
Furthermore, housing complaints in Gauteng has been centred on illegal evictions and problems with the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) home allocation process.

“The legality of evictions, lack of consultation with tenants and occupiers, failure to provide alternative accommodation, and the inhumane manner in which evictions are carried out in the province were some of the main issues of concern.”
Meanwhile, the Commission has investigated complaints by members of the public regarding the inaccessibility of certain public spaces and made recommendations for special accommodation that should be made to make these spaces accessible to disabled people.
“A number of these investigations related to access to disabled students at various universities.”
“The Commission has in these cases also directed institutions to conduct a needs assessment of accommodation required to enhance access for disabled students, and that the institutions either put in place a disability policy or review existing policies,”” Smith said.
Where to complain
A complaint may be lodged at any provincial office of the SAHRC where a violation of a fundamental right took place.
A complaint can be lodged in person, by telephone, in writing or by completing the online complaint form available at

Source: Kathorus Mail

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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