Deputy Minister engages learners on human rights in WC

By Solomon Mahlangu

As part of celebrating Human Rights Day, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery, delivered a key note address at Trafalgar High School in the Western Cape where he engaged learners on issues of human rights.

The event, which took place on 21 March 2015, was organised by the department in partnership with the South African Academy for Young Leaders.

Human Rights Day forms part of the commemoration of 21 March 1960, where in Sharpeville, Gauteng, thousands of people, who fought against pass laws, had gathered at the police station demanding to be arrested. They were met by 300 police heavy workforce who, after a scuffle, opened fire and killing 69 people. 180 more were injured.

Addressing learners, Deputy Minister Jeffery highlighted the importance of the right to education. “As we celebrate this Constitution, we should remember the injustices and violation of human rights caused by the Apartheid government which eventually led to the massacre where 69 people were killed in Sharpeville,” he recalled.

The deputy minister indicated that children have special rights in the Constitution. “If you look at Section 28, the Constitution tells us that every child has, amongst other, a right to a name and nationality from birth, a right to family or parental care, basic nutrition, shelter, health care services and social services. They have the right to be protected from neglect and abuse. There are also other rights that are extremely important, such as, in your case, a right to education”, he explained.

One of the speakers at the event, Western Cape Regional Head, Advocate Hishaam Mohamed, said the event demonstrated commitment of the department in bringing justice closer to the people. “This is a manifestation of the spirit of the 1976 is still on and students continue to fight for their rights,” Advocate Mohamed concluded.



Published: 25 March 2015