20 March 2023
As the nation marks yet another Human Rights Day, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) joins all South Africans in commemorating and honouring the country’s heroes who were killed and some wounded on 21 March 1960 in Sharpeville and Langa among other areas. While some time has passed since then, the wounds of apartheid remain raw, making it even more critical to take stock of the rights provisioned for in the constitution which is the bedrock of our democracy.
FEDUSA implores the nation on this Human Rights Day to reflect and work towards addressing the high levels of violent crime, poverty, unemployment, and high levels of inequality that still affect the majority of South Africans. Our high crime rate has been attributed to social stress from unconducive environments in early childhood, poverty, wealth disparity and problems with the delivery of public services.
As a country, we also need to fight the high levels of alcohol abuse and which plays a huge contributing factor in many violent crimes including murder, gender-based assaults and rape. In most cases, these incidents regularly occur in or directly outside bars, taverns, or nightclubs due to the abuse of alcohol. We will recall that on 26 June 2022, horrific scenes were published in the media which showed 21 young children who had died at Enyobeni tavern in East London. We must ask ourselves as a nation why children under the age of 18 were consuming alcohol in the tavern at that time of the night.
We are also concerned that despite South Africa’s Constitution being the first in the world to prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the LGBTQI+ community still find themselves in a crisis of having their human rights continuously violated. People living with disabilities, women, and children are also some of the vulnerable groups in South Africa that have to fight for their survival and basic human rights.
FEDUSA also encourages South Africans to reflect on the gender pay gap, which is a form of discrimination against women. South Africa still has a long way to go in correcting the injustice and violation of human rights of hardworking women who are robbed of what is due to them in favour of men as various reports have repeatedly proven. Equally, attention must be paid to the infringements of the rights of people living with disabilities who are still facing difficulties in accessing transport, building and work opportunities.
Therefore, FEDUSA calls on the government to enforce the constitution and to hold accountable the companies, organisations, and individuals responsible for violating the rights of others.
Human Rights Day is an important day that urges all South Africans to remember the sacrifices and struggles paid for the attainment of democracy and the protection of human rights in the country. As South Africans, we must address all challenges that still divide us in terms of race and social class by engaging honestly and openly with each other. These discussions can be initiated in our family structures, social circles, faith-based organizations and in our community forums.
As a nation, we must stop any individuals who are planning to destroy our centres of learning, state institutions, health, and social facilities during community protests. We must stand up together with determination and work towards creating a safe South Africa that is non-racist, non-sexist and that reflects the principles and values of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Let us continue to fight against the exploitation of workers by advocating for greater transparency, and fair pay and for laws against exploitation to be enforced.
For media enquiries
063 736 5533
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Mr Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433