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Amalungelo Oluntu/Human Rights

For the first time after more than 40 years of apartheid, all South Africans are looking forward to participating in a new political system in which there will be a Bill of Rights of protect them. This book is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The aim of the book is to provide basic human rights knowledge to South Africans in language that is easy to understand. The illustrations and questions have been designed to encourage discussion amongst people about their human rights and how these rights should be protected.

Creating Your Constitution

Creating Your Constitution makes the constitution-making process accessible to rural South Africans. It is a tool to enable all citizens to understand and critically evaluate the concept and content of the Interim Constitution and to participate in the drafting of the final Constitution. Through the accompanying workbook, it offers a unique opportunity to people who have historically been excluded from the law and decision-making process to submit their concerns and demands to the Constitution Assembly which has committed itself to a participatory drafting process. Creating Your Constitution forms part of the Community Law Centre’s ongoing empowerment programmes towards rural self-sufficiency.

About our Constitution

The Community Law Centre`s new publications on South Africa`s final Constitution, was launched on 21 March 1997, National Human Rights Day. This Manual is the first in a series planned to make the Constitution a living document for everyone. Our Constitution has received world-wide acclaim for its protection of fundamental human rights and promotion of a democratic culture. However, unless citizens are aware of their constitutional rights, they will not be able to recognise nor take action against human rights violations. This manual provides an overview of the Constitution, with a special focus on the Bill of Rights, probing the implication and application of its contents. The manual also details how to access the national machinery established to respond to human rights violations. The invitation is thrown open to all to achieve their birthright: full equality and equal opportunity in a democratic South Africa.

Achieving Equality

The Second publication in the Community Law Centre`s series on South Africa`s final Constitution and Bill of Rights, was launched on 9 August 1997, National Women`s Day. The First publication in this series, NgoMthethosisekelo Wethu/ About Our Constitution, provides an overview of the contents of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and details of the constitutional machinery established to respond to human rights violations. Ukufumana Ukulingana/ Achieving Equality focuses on the right to equality. It examines the aspects of equality identified in Article 9 of the Constitution, namely equality before the law and equal protection and benefit of the law, equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms and freedom from discrimination. Finally, it provides contact details for various resource organisations which can provide assistance to those whose right to equality is being abused. Equality is a fundamental principle underpinning our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The challenge facing government and citizens is to put policies and programmes in place to enable all South Africans to achieve equality in the family, workplace and community. Both government and citizens should ensure that policies and programmes are practical and accessible to ordinary people, and contribute towards our culture of equality.

Your Rights in Law

Amalungelo Akho Emthethweni /Your Rights in Law is the fourth in the Community Law Rural Development centre`s (CLRDC) series on south African Constitution and Bill of Rights. The first publication Ngomthethosisekelo/About Our Constitution provides an overview of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The second, Ukufumana Ukulingana/Achieving Equality focus on the rights to equality. The third one, Ukubusa Ngobuqotho/Good Governance focuses on the concepts, structure and function of democracy. This Publication assists the reader to understand the procedures followed when someone is arrested, detained and brought before the court of law. It focuses on how the people can seek redress if their rights were abused by law enforcement officers while executing their duties. It’s also provides contact details of organisations that can assist in this situation. Our Constitution in principle, put all the mechanism in place to ensure that human dignity is never violated. It remains the duty of the citizen to ensure that they are informed of their rights and challenges any action that may classify as unconstitutional.

Local Government

This publication assists the reader to understand the current structures of local government. The manual also informs people about important legislation such as the local Government Municipal Structures Act No 117 of 1998, and the Municipal Systems Bill of 2000. It also explains the relationship of local authorities with other levels of government and with the communities they serve. The level of accountability of councillors to their constituencies is enhanced by the code of conduct. Certain guidelines will be followed by the councillors, traditional leaders and officials when they carry out their functions and duties.

Human Rights Briefly

This publication assists the reader to understand the three levels of development and implementation of human rights. They are the national level which is the South African constitution and the Bill of Rights, the regional level which is the African Regional System and the African Charter, the international level which is the United Nations and Universal Declaration of Human Rights together with other international treaties. Every individual is expected by teaching the education to practice and promote respect for human rights and freedoms. Education about human rights is not only a question of study but about a way reflecting on everyday life situations and finding ways to act according to human rights precepts.

The Bill of Fundamental Human Rights

Human rights are those basic and fundamental rights to which every person – for the simple reason of being a person- is entitled. These rights are inalienable (which means you can never lose those rights or they can never be taken away from you). The natural rights of South Africans received no protection before the country became a constitutional democracy in 1994. Chapter 3 of the Interim Constitution introduced legally protected fundamental rights to South Africa for the first time. Now fundamental human rights are entrenched in Chapter 2 – section 7 to 39 of the 1996 Constitution. As such, the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution that has had the greatest impact on life in South Africa. The first words of the Bill states: “This Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.”

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