SA rights body reveals most complaints are about the lack of equality


JOHANNESBURG, January 10 – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday revealed that most of the complaints of violations that it received were to do with the lack of “equality” followed by unfair labour practices and the lack of access to health care, water, food, and social security.

Between 2015 and 2016, the Commission said it received 9,238 complaints; with Gauteng recording the highest number of complaints (1,110), followed by the Western Cape (670) and KwaZulu-Natal (581).

In its just released Annual Trends Analysis Report (ATAR) the Commission outlines statistics and data on human rights violations it received. The data was compiled from cases received from all nine of the Commission’s provincial offices.

The report highlights that inequality remains one of the single biggest obstacles to the attainment of human rights, as envisaged by the Constitution.

“The right to equality remains the right most frequently litigated by the Commission in the Equality Courts. Most of these cases involve the use of the “k-word” and other derogatory comments with racial undertones, such as use of the terms ‘baboon’ or ‘monkey’,” said the SAHRC in the report.

The Commission said after race, discrimination based on disability and ethnic origin account for the largest numbers of equality-related complaint.

At least 31 of 54 matters litigated by the provincial offices related to the right to equality and hate speech.

Labour related human rights violations account for the second highest human rights violations received by the Commission, after equality. The report indicates that many of these cases relate to unfair dismissals and other unfair labour practices, which the SAHRC said speak to widespread discrimination in the workplace.

Violations of Section 27 rights, which include; healthcare, food, water, and social security, account for the third highest complaints.

“This increase is tied to the insufficient or lack of service delivery experienced by innumerable communities in South Africa,” the report said.

SAHRC also said the right to just administrative action guarantees that everyone is entitled to actions that are reasonable, lawful and procedurally fair; and compels all those tasked with public administration, whose decisions affect members of the public, to act within both the spirit and the letter of the law.

“Most of the human rights violations received by the Commission relating to just administrative action concern decisions made by government departments, such as the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development,” the report said.

“Most of the complaints received by the Commission relating to the arrests and detentions, emanate from inmates in correctional centres requesting copies of trial transcripts and requesting assistance for appeals or protesting living condition.”

The report issued by SAHRC spokesperson, Gail Smith, lists the top five most violated human rights in South Africa as:

* Equality (749 complaints)
* Unfair labour practices (440 complaints)
* Ongoing lack of access to health care, water, food, and social security (428 complaints)
* Violations of the right to just administrative action (379 complaints)
* Violations of rights in relations to arrest and detention (409 complaints)

– African News Agency (ANA)