What human rights mean in South Africa was clearly illustrated on 21 March 2022, on Human Rights Day by a president who is a prisoner of the past and who does not strive for a country where everyone feels safe and secure.
While President Cyril Ramaphosa elaborated on the consequences of colonialism and Apartheid, the residents of Koster in the North West province, where he delivered his speech, were experiencing the consequences of the ANC government first-hand as there is sewage flowing down their streets and there are water shortages plaguing the town.
The President failed to mention the lamentable legacy of years of state capture, corruption, poor governance and consequent poverty and inequality.
He referred to the 70 people who died more than 60 years ago in Sharpeville and he also brought up the Skierlik murders of 14 years ago, but he made no mention of the inhumane human rights violations that have occurred during the 28 years under ANC rule.
One of these occurred 50 years after the Sharpeville incident when 34 striking mine workers were also killed by police action in Marikana. This time, however, the ANC was in power.
More recently, in 2016, the Life Esidimeni tragedy occurred in which 144 vulnerable psychiatric patients died due to starvation and neglect. There is general consensus that it is the greatest human rights violation under ANC rule. But nothing was said about that.
In 2020, Collins Khosa was brutally beaten to death by police and army officers because he had alcohol in his possession. And on 26 August 2021, police members shot and killed the unarmed Nathaniel Julies.
In 2018, the Moerane Commission’s report pointed the finger at the ANC’s infighting, identifying it as one of the greatest contributing factors to the large number of political murders in the country.
Last year, lives were lost and enormous damage was done to property during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. But the President did not say a word about any of it.
The ANC government is clearly the single biggest violator of Section 2 of South Africa’s Constitution, which enshrines human rights.
South Africans have no choice but to use their after-tax money to pay for private medical care, and to ensure their own safety and security by installing alarm systems and hiring private security companies, whose annual turnover is much greater than the annual police budget.
Communities and businesses often have no water and electricity supply; and mother-tongue education is being phased out in schools and tertiary education institutions.
The list of human rights violations under ANC rule goes on and on, and serves as a damning accusation against the government.
The leader of the FF Plus, Dr Pieter Groenewald, is quite right in saying that Human Rights Day ought to serve as a wake-up call for everyone to respect the human rights of all South African people, regardless of their race, gender, religion, age, language or culture.
Human rights will never be truly realised while one group oppresses another. When the human rights of minorities, in particular, are violated, the consequences could ultimately be devastating.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Jaco Mulder on FF Plus