South African Human Rights Yearbook - latest Issue
Volume 8, Issue 1, 1997
Author G. DevenishSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 1 –34 (1997)More Less
On 10 December 1996, after the Constitutional Court had certified that the amended draft was in compliance in every respect with the constitutional principles, President Mandela signed the Constitution at an impressive and moving ceremony in Sharpeville. With the exception of certain provisions, the 1996 Constitution came into effect on 4 February 1997. 1 The Constitution 2 was amended once in 1997, to change the period of 1 March 1960 to 10 May 1994 (the date on which Mr Mandela was inaugurated as President under the Interim Constitution), from which amnesty may be granted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Source: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 33 –54 (1997)More Less
The transformation of the education system, which has been a priority since the 1994 elections, continued in 1997 and 1998. More laws were passed aimed at facilitating the process and eliminating backlogs from the past. While few would contest that change has occurred, there is vigorous public debate about the extent and nature of this change. Government has been and remains committed to two goals: eradicating racial inequalities and rationalising the cumbersome administrative structures and huge bureaucracy inherited from the Apartheid system. An additional aspect of redress became prominent as the process of integration in formerly white, coloured and Indian schools gathered momentum. It is now apparent that the inequality most resistant to removal is concerned with social class. This includes inequality between township and rural schools (serving majority African learners) and the formerly white schools, and most importantly, that between town and countryside schools.
Author J. BodensteinSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 55 –86 (1997)More Less
The first democratic national elections in South Africa conducted during 1994 revolved mainly around ideals: disencumbering a nation from the hegemony of the apartheid system, tolerance, nation-building, inculcation of a human rights culture and the democratisation of all spheres of governance.1 For the fledgling democracy to evolve and reach maturity, elections should transcend beyond such ideals or lofty notions, becoming a 'normal' event, entrenched as a means of expressing political choices. In this chapter the main focus will be on preparations for this country's first 'normal' general elections in 1999, the main issues affecting perceptions and fundamental rights of the electorate and the positioning of the main political players.
Author M. KiddSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 85 –97 (1997)More Less
The most significant events during the period under review were the enactment of the National Water Act1 and the National Environmental Management Act.2 Other than the development of the policy upon which these Acts were based, there were no significant developments for environmental rights during 1997.
Author J. SarkinSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 97 –138 (1997)More Less
This chapter provides an overview of the health care sector in South Africa for the years 1997 and 1998. During this period the discrepancy between private and public health care continued to reflect the legacy of apartheid. Although only 18% of South Africans belong to a medical aid this group has access to 85% of the pharmacists and 60% of the medical specialists.1 In fact, the discrepancy in the amount spent in these two sectors has grown over the last five years, further advantaging the recipients of private health care.
Author T. CohenSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 137 –163 (1997)More Less
While there are many constraints hampering the Government's housing programme, the most fundamental is that there will never be enough money to address the country's housing needs. A cut in the housing budgetary allocation for 1998 has only exacerbated this problem. Despite these problems, the housing sector in 1997 and 1998 has nevertheless benefitted from the promulgation of several important pieces of legislation as well as managed to sustain delivery in a dismal economic climate.
Source: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 177 –205 (1997)More Less
There have been many significant developments in policing during 1997 and 1998. These include policy shifts, organisational re-structuring, a new policing 'ethos' and the development of crime-busting legislation, all designed to put policing in the forefront of South Africa's criminal justice transformation. A lack of organisational co-ordination and a critical dearth of human and fiscal resources, however, have obstructed the success of this transformation. More specifically, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been heavily criticised for not dealing adequately with race and gender transformation, both internally and in terms of the provision of services to civil society. In particular, the rising levels of reported rape and domestic related assaults, as well as increased media attention on experiences of secondary victimisation of complainants by criminal justice agents, has left civil society with little confidence in the ability of the police to confront and combat violence against women.
Author S. PeteSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 206 –244 (1997)More Less
The years 1997 and 1998 were significant for prisoners in South Africa, as the new democratic government struggled with the problems created by an ever increasing prison population. The first in a series of ultra-secure 'C Max' prisons, designed to accommodate the most high risk offenders, came into operation. At the other end of the spectrum, several new facilities designed specifically for the rehabilitation of low risk offenders were completed. However, these new facilities catered only for a small percentage of the prison population. Most prisoners found themselves 'warehoused' in overcrowded facilities throughout the country. Chronic overcrowding overshadowed much of what transpired during the period under review.
Author R. LouwSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 245 –266 (1997)More Less
As the previous edition of the Yearbook did not cover the topic of sexual orientation, this chapter will review the years 1995 to 1998. Over the past four years there have been enormous strides in the establishment of gay and lesbian equality. These developments have been spearheaded by the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality.
Author V. ReddySource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 267 –298 (1997)More Less
'Let the healing waters flow, ' was the crux of Archbishop Tutu's text when he officially handed over the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Report to President Mandela in 1998. This message, by a man chosen to lead a commission that would attempt to unravel the mirky history of a country polarized by apartheid, continues to be a hrefrain in the politics of South Africa. In an attempt to offer some form of closure on a turbulent past, the unfinished business of understanding the truth about institutionalised oppression was one of the fundamental challenges of the commission. Many lives were lost by those resisting the apartheid system, and some lost in protecting the system. In most instances the circumstances surrounding the loss of lives were the result of gross human rights violations. As a way of making meaning about the apartheid past so that what happened would never repeat itself again, the commission was established to help South Africans on a path toward national reconciliation.
Author M. De HaasSource: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 300 –322 (1997)More Less
Violent crime of one type or another in South Africa received saturation media coverage during this period, fuelling perceptions of impending anarchy.1 Thus, the predominant self-image of South Africa during the two year period under review, which was relentlessly exploited by politicians, was that of a dangerous, violence-wracked society. The print media sensationalised this image further by false descriptions of South Africa as the reported rape capital of the world and 'probably the most murderous society on earth'.2 South Africa was also said to have been inundated with organized crime syndicates, 192 of which were reportedly being monitored by the police. The fact that, as Advocate Jennifer Wild cogently argues, organized crime syndicates had been an integral component of the apartheid State, and had never been dismantled, was conveniently overlooked.
Source: South African Human Rights Yearbook 8, pp 321 –391 (1997)More Less
Although women comprise about 52% of the South African population1, it has been acknowledged that they constitute one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in this country. Our constitutional dispensation has provided the vehicle for legislative and judicial intervention for the progressive empowerment of women. It has also enabled women's groups to lobby around issues for the advancement of their rights. The years 1997 and 1998 have seen various legal developments to improve the position of women. Sadly, not all of these have had positive implications for them. In this chapter, we focus on some of the more distinctive developments which have affected women's rights directly or indirectly.