Human Rights

SACSIS embraces a rights based approach to development, which views poverty as a denial of human rights.

Legal Practice Act Makes Community Service Compulsory for Law Graduates

Picture credit: Legal Solutions Blog Sandile Tshabalala - Twenty years since the dawn of our democracy, many South Africans remain marginalized and unable to reach their full potential due to a series of obstacles. Our constitutional democracy gives equal rights to all citizens. However, inequality remains a challenge. Poverty, crime and xenophobia haunt our society on a daily basis. In the midst of a legal order that affords equal rights to all, the lived experience of ordinary South Africans is of critical concern. Their access to justice is...

Ramping Up Trade Relations, South Africa Ignores Indonesia's Human Rights Violations in West Papua

Picture credit: Nichollas Harrison/Wikimedia Commons Anna Majavu - The visit by the South African government and 17 unnamed South African companies to Indonesia last week has thrown into stark relief the ANC government’s hypocrisy in its international relations with countries that are guilty of human rights abuses. Indonesia ended its brutal military occupation of East Timor in 2002 but continues an equally merciless military occupation of West Papua. Somehow this doesn’t appear to have pricked the consciences of our government officials or...

Medical Racism and the African Patient

Picture credit: afreecom/Idrissa Soumare Mandisi Majavu - In his book, Infections and Inequalities, Paul Farmer writes that we live in a world where infections pass easily across borders, while resources, including cumulative scientific knowledge are blocked at customs. The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is a case in point. The World Health Organisation has warned that the number of Ebola cases could rise to 20,000 largely because the medical staff in these West African countries do not have the resources to deal with the rapid spread of...

Can South Africa's Courts Help the Fight for Social Justice?

Picture credit: Penn State/flickr Steven Friedman - The more the courts do to fix poverty and inequality directly, the more likely is it that people will remain poor and unequal. For some time, an important debate has been raging between legal academics who want our courts to help the fight for social justice. It has been confined to law journals and has hardly registered in the public debate. This is a pity, since it addresses a crucial question: how can the courts help to combat poverty and inequality? The constitutional court has...

Marikana, Gaza, Ferguson: 'You should think of them always as armed'

Picture credit: A protester in in Ferguson, Missouri courtesy Bilde. Richard Pithouse - In colonial wars the occupying power invariably reaches a point where it has to acknowledge that its true enemy is not a minority - devil worshipers, communists, fanatics or terrorists - subject to external and evil manipulation, but the people as a whole. Once this point is reached every colonised person is taken as a potential combatant and the neighbourhood and the home are cast as legitimate sites of combat. This is the moment when liberal paternalism breaks down. From its first...

Marikana Widows Shed Tears in Women's Month

Picture credit: A woman collecting firewood in Marikana courtesy Gillian Schutte Gillian Schutte - This women’s month marks two years since the Marikana massacre. The widows of the workers killed by the South African Police Service in 2012 have since received their deceased husband’s provident fund dues, but still wait for justice whilst the media and public attention has long since transferred from their plight to the Farlam Commission. The focus recently has been on the prolonged strike action on the Platinum belt as well as Mr X’s sensational testimony alleging that...