Constitutions in transition
Constitutions in transition

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Constitutions in transition

2.1 Rights – the South African way

The first of these constitutional values is a respect for human dignity and this is the principal impetus behind Chapter 2 Bill of Rights. Section 10 of the Constitution states that ‘Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected’. This is reflected in the rest of the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the chapter; many rights and freedoms are also contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

There are some rights in the Constitution, however, that contrast sharply with many classic constitutional documents. Karl Klare (1998, p. 153) sums up the Constitution as ‘social, redistributive, caring, positive’ and comprehending of the fact that ‘political freedom and socio-economic justice are inextricably intertwined’. For this reason, the right to a healthy environment (s24); housing (s26); healthcare, food, water and social security (s27); the welfare of children (s28); and education (s29) are enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Described image
Figure 3 The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa

Rather than it being a document written solely to define and limit the powers of political and legal institutions, the Constitution is conscious of the social and economic inequality that pervades South Africa. This constitutional commitment to social justice is, however, not a straightforward obligation.

The Constitutional Court made it clear that regard must be had to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a whole. The Court also held that the duties in the Bill of Rights could only be fully understood with reference to South Africa’s social and historical context. For this reason, De Vos (2001) considers it correct that, in Soobramoney v Minister of Health, KwaZulu-Natal 1998 (1) SA 765, access to expensive medical treatment for some, when many people in the province have little or no access to any form of healthcare, would contravene social justice.

W203_1

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371