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Rights and responsibilities

Following complaints about clashes between residents and law enforcers Weslander sought the aid of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to get the facts.

SAHRC is mandated by South Africa’s constitution to protect, promote and monitor human rights in the country. The SAHRC has a mandate to investigate, report, facilitate redress where applicable, carry out research and educate on human rights.

The aim of law enforcement officials in South Africa

The aim of law enforcement officials is to enforce the law. With this responsibility, comes the inherent duty to do so lawfully and within their constitutional mandate. With every right to protest, comes the inherent responsibility to do so peacefully and not infringe on the rights of others.

Who can you protest against?

You can protest against an individual or institution. This can include a government minister, a police official, a private company or a government department.

What is the constitutional mandate of the police?

The South African Police Service (Saps) has a responsibility to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property. Saps is mandated to uphold and enforce the law, create a safe and secure a environment for all.

They have to prevent anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community, investigate any crimes that threaten the safety or security of any community, ensure criminals are brought to justice and participate in efforts to address the causes of crime

What are the rights and responsibilities of the protesters?

Each protester has the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion, freedom of expression, to say, read and study whatever they want. But such freedoms come with responsibility. Hate speech is not allowed. Everyone has the right to hold or participate in a picket, demonstration and present a petition. This must be done peacefully.

Where to get help

Acting Provincial Manager: Bahia Sterris on 073 075 2278; Nonandi Diko, Legal Officer – 082 460 5640; Nelther Magazi, Legal Officer – 074 808 0066

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