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South Africa: Bill of Rights Restores Dignity of South Africans
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, December 22, 2016
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 22, 2016

“… The Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, was forged in the everyday struggle of our people… The real engine [of the Constitution] is the Bill of Rights because it relates to the lives of ordinary people,” Deputy President Ramaphosa said.
The book launch was attended by presiding officers – led by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande; Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel; Justice and Constitution Development Deputy Minister John Jeffery; Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty, as well as lawyers and academics, who provided diverse individual, party-political and technical insights into the drafting of the Bill of Rights through the book.
The book launch, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution, contains interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes as told by some of the key participants in the Constitution making processes in South Africa.
The Deputy President said the dignity of many South Africans had been violated over the years, which is why the Bill of Rights was a priority during the drafting of the Constitution.  
“When our forebears started demanding their rights, it rightly revolved around the Bill of Rights more than anything else. This desire was nourished through the pain and tears of many of our people through their displacement, the degradation of their rights, and in work – whether they worked on the farms or wherever - and how they were dispossessed of their land.
“The Bill of Rights that we now have has enabled us to reclaim what one can call our humanness … to correct the atrocities of the past.
“When we adopted our Constitution, enshrined in it the Bill of Rights, we all felt that this was going to affirm our humanness. It was going to restore our humanity and affirm us as human beings,” he said.
The Deputy President said on the day that the Constitutional Assembly voted to adopt the first full text of the new Constitution, all parties involved in the drafting of the Constitution agreed that the Bill of Rights was the mirror of South African society.
“… It reflects both our history as a people and nation, as well as the values that we now cherish, the values that are written in black and white - human dignity and freedom being the core of the rights that we enshrined in our Bill of Rights.
“It proclaims to the world that we are a society that is committed and dedicated to democracy, the rule of law and protection of human rights.
“It proclaims to all South Africans, the landless people in our country, the homeless, women, workers, the children of our country, that their basic needs and aspirations matter enough to be enshrined in the Constitution of our country.” 

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