SA hasn't yet succeeded in fulfilling vision of the Constitution, panel says

South Africa has a long way to go to achieve the human rights culture envisioned in the Constitution.

702's Eusebius McKaiser hosted a discussion on the gap between the vision of the Constitution and the lives of people in South Africa.

As the country observes Human Rights Day, three social activists candidly critique the country's human rights-based jurisprudence and the continued struggles within our communities.

Feminist activist Fatima Shabodien says the government has failed at the basic level of delivering human rights and normalising the values of the Constitution.

Shabodien, the former country director of NPO ActionAid South Africa, says there is a disconnect between the country's progressive laws and the lived experience.

It's uncontested that we have a very progressive Constitution and sound legislative framework in place.

Fatima Shabodien, feminist and human rights activist

There isn't a problem with the laws, they are quite sound. The challenge has been the translation of those [laws] into the entitlements that all of us have as South Africans and people who live here.

Fatima Shabodien, feminist and human rights activist

Mark Heywood, the head of civil rights group Section27, says if South African was anywhere near achieving a human rights-based society then there would be no need for an organisation like his.

After 25 years, we've kept the idea of human rights alive and we've kept the vision of the Constitution there, but we haven't succeeded in fulfilling the vision.

Mark Heywood, Executive Director of Section 27

Meanwhile, Nicole Fritz, the CEO of rights group Freedom Under Law (FUL), has commended the judiciary for its role in enriching the promise of Constitution.

Fritz, however, slammed the private sector and other arms of the state such as the Executive for failing to bridge the gap between laws and realities.

It's about ensuring that we are looking at people's access to a fundamental meaningful life.

Nicole Fritz, Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Under Law

Listen to the in-depth discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


This article first appeared on 702 : SA hasn't yet succeeded in fulfilling vision of the Constitution, panel says


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