The Bill Of Human Rights
To build a culture of human rights, it is important for every citizen to know their rights and understand their responsibilities. The Constitution protects and promotes human rights for all people in South Africa. The following is a summary of the 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, servitude and forced labour are not allowed.|
|Privacy||You cannot be searched or have your home or possessions searched without the proper procedures being followed by the police.|
|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.|
|Healthcare, Food, Water and Social Security||The government must make sure you have access to food and water, healthcare and social security.|
|Children||Children under the age of 18 have special rights.|
|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, practise their own religion and use their own language.|
|Access to Information||You have the right to any information 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||These rights protect people arrested, imprisoned or accused of a crime.|
The Constitution states that the fundamental rights of all South Africans will be protected and respected. Various government bodies and institutions have been set up to ensure that rights are protected.
If your rights have been violated, you can report the matter to one of the following bodies:
- South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)
- Independent Complaints Directorate
- Public Protector
- Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
- Commission on Gender Equality
- Office of the Consumer Protector
South African Human Rights Commission
The SAHRC will help you if any of your human rights have been violated.
To lodge a complaint, you need to complete the online complaint form.
The SAHRC will usually not be able to help you where:
- Your case does not involve a violation of any of the rights in the Bill of Rights.
- Your problem happened before 27 April 1994.
- Your case is a criminal case and you need a lawyer (in this case, please call the Legal Aid Board on 0800 110 110 or visit their offices.)
- You have been convicted of a crime and you want to appeal.
For more information, contact the Western Cape Office:
Address: Seventh floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8000 Tel: 021 426 2277 Fax: 021 426 2875 E-mail: email@example.com
Independent Police Investigative Directorate
If your rights have been violated by the police, you should contact the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
You can e-mail your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 021 949 3196.
Postal Address: Private Bag X 43, Bellville, 7535 Physical Address: First floor, Fintrust Building, Corner Petrusa and Mazzur Street, Bellville, 7530 Tel: 021 941 4800 Fax: 021 949 3196 E-mail: email@example.com
If you want to complain about a member of a government department, you should contact the Public Protector.
If you have been unable to solve the problem by talking to the government official and their supervisor, you should write to the Public Protector. The following information should be contained in the letter:
- The nature of your complaint.
- The background and history of the complaint.
- The reasons why you feel the complaint should be investigated by the Public Protector.
- The steps you have taken to solve the problem yourself.
- Specific details – names of officials, dates etc.
- Copies of any correspondence between you and the officials.
- Your contact details.
In some instances, the Public Protector may require a statement under oath before investigating.
If you need help with the complaint, you can phone the Public Protector’s Office. Read more about the Public Protector.
Postal Address: Western Cape Regional Office, PO Box 712, Cape Town, 8000 Physical Address: Fourth floor, 51 Wale Street/Bree Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 423 8644 Fax: 012 423 8708
Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
If your employer has violated your rights, you should contact the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after you have tried to sort the matter out at work.
The CCMA will:
- Conciliate workplace disputes.
- Arbitrate disputes that remain unresolved after conciliation.
For more information contact:
CCMA Cape Town Office Postal Address: Private Bag X9167, Cape Town, 8000 Physical Address: 78 Darling Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 469 0111 Fax: 021 465 7193/7/87/462 5006 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCMA George Office Postal Address: Private Bag x6650, George, 6530 Physical Address: 62 Cathedral Street, Cathedral Square 2, George, 6529 Tel: 044 805 7700 Fax: 044 873 2906 E-mail: email@example.com
Commission on Gender Equality
If you were discriminated against because of your gender, you should contact the Commission on Gender Equality.
When making a complaint, you should try to provide as much information as possible. Complaints are strictly confidential.
For more information contact:
Physical Address: Fifth floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001 Tel: 021 426 4080/3 Fax: 021 424 0549
Office of the Consumer Protector
The Office of the Consumer Protector (OCP) acts as a “prosecutor” on behalf of consumers in order to bring their complaints/cases before the Consumer Tribunal, which is a special court that hears consumer complaints. There are steps to take before you lodge a complaint with the OCP.
For more information contact:
Physical Address: Ground Floor, Waldorf Arcade, 80 St George’s Mall, Cape Town, 8001 Postal Address: PO Box 979, Cape Town, 8000 Toll Free number: 0800 007 081 Fax: 021 483 5872 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org