Author: Thabo Motlhabi
As South Africans, we are very proud of our Constitution. It is rated as one of the best in the world. The values contained in it reflect our country’s history and the type of communities we aspire to create. South Africans are striving to achieve an ideal society where justice prevails at every level. Our Constitution currently states that every citizen, whether a victim or perpetrator of crime, can now claim protection for their rights. It covers the rights of women and children as they are considered the most susceptible to crime.
We enjoy the freedom of having civil and criminal courts. They are responsible for the administration and accountability of justice in South Africa. As citizens, we are protected through our constitutional equality regardless of socio-economic status. On a daily basis, we hear about injustices committed in and around our communities.
We cannot seek vigilante justice because the courts preside over these matters. In the system, both parties can present their matter before legal counsel in an effort to achieve justice. The courts do not make the final decision but through the guidelines of the Constitution, both parties receive justice.
Everyone is entitled to enjoy their rights and if they feel violated, they are able to take the necessary legal action to rectify it. For example, a man trying to buy a home without proper paperwork only to find out later that it was sold to another person. In this situation, the man can take this case to the police and pursue legal action. It is 50/50 chance he can win but regardless of the outcome, justice will prevail. Another example is a father raping a daughter for several years. Due to the family’s poverty level, the mother does not speak up out of fear she will lose the small income from her husband. In this situation, social workers, counselors and the police can get involved to put an end to this. The matter can go before the court and that child has a chance to receive the justice she rightfully deserves. One final example is if someone purchases a car not realizing it is stolen. After the police search for it and recover it, that person can present their innocence in the court system (even if the actual criminal is not arrested yet).
There are many other examples but thankfully, we have a system that works to address them.