Rogue elements undermining equality before the law

April 29th, 2021
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By Kgomotso Ramotsho

In his Human Rights Day speech on 21 March 2021, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, said there are still a few rogue elements undermining the struggles of the late stalwart, Charlotte Maxeke, and her heroic generation in the South African democracy. Adding that this year’s human rights month is celebrated under the theme ‘The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Promoting Human Rights in the age of COVID-19’.

Mr Lamola said that today’s society is socially different to the one in which Ms Maxeke lived in. ‘I say socially different but not structural different’, Mr Lamola added. He pointed out that the edifice of Apartheid still remains heavily entrenched in South Africans’ everyday experiences. Either through colonial names in communities or by the behaviour of citizens. He added that despite the 27th anniversary of democracy in South Africa (SA) racism still breathes and lives among South Africans.

Mr Lamola said that there are a few rouge elements undermining the struggle of Ms Maxeke and her generation, and one of the basic principles in a democracy, namely equality before the law. He added that this rouge element goes as far as casting aspersions on the judiciary and endeavour to undermine decisions of the court to circumvent the rule of law. ‘The generation of Mme Maxeke fought hard for the rights of all South Africans to be equal before the law and we should never allow their struggles to be in vain’.

Mr Lamola pointed out that the impact of COVID-19 on human rights takes place in the 25th anniversary of SA’s Constitution – a landmark timeline of an important document that has inspired and transformed the lives of millions of South African citizens. He added that over the past 27 years, much progress has been achieved, resulting in several progressive improvements in people’s lives. He said that the Constitution is a document that really values human dignity, equality, non-racism, non-sexism and that it has established a fertile ground for entrenching a human rights-based society in communities.

Mr Lamola added that, the perceived decline in the reportage of gender-based violence in South African communities has in reality brought spot on, the nature of gender-based violence. He said that statistics point to the fact that more often than not, the perpetrators of gender-based violence are individuals who are known to victims and survivors. ‘As we celebrate Human Rights Day in 2021 let every citizen be concerned about entrenching human rights in the country through a gendered lens. Let each of us say, as long as there are still those whose rights are violated and undermined, the struggle continues’, Mr Lamola said.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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