Why are we violating our own human rights?


By Debbie van Schalkwyk

It is easy to point the finger at the ruling party of the day and blame the ANC for our shortcomings. Unfortunately, we have to realize that we are shooting ourselves in the foot by neglecting certain duties as citizens.

For better and for worse, we find ourselves in a democracy. Sometimes this means that 51% determines the fate of the other 49%, and other times it means that we have the freedom to choose our own destiny.

Regardless of which way the scale hangs, each of us is responsible on a deeper level for the condition in which South Africa finds itself.

Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that man is by nature a political animal. Apart from the official government system, politics takes place without a name or identification. In our households there are rules, in our workplaces there are policies, and in our country there are laws.

We participate in politics daily by making multiple choices that have an astronomical influence on our present and future. Taking part in elections is as big a political decision as not taking part. There is no way to escape politics, even if one avoids the subject at all costs.

How do we violate our own human rights?

By not voting. By looking the other way when the rights of others are violated. By being quick to get upset and slow to get our hands dirty. Looking away is also seeing and keeping quiet is also an answer.

what do you see Do you see violations and think they don’t affect you? What is your answer? That you are not going to take any action and therefore just accept the injustice around you?

A lack of knowledge and action is our downfall. It is of no use to know what your human rights are, but sit idly by when they are violated. Unfortunately, the mismanagement of the country is like a dirty house – the first day it bothers you, but after a month you don’t even notice the uncleanliness anymore.

If we are going to wait forever for someone to stuff a working system into our mouths with a golden spoon, we might as well roll in the grave and starve to death. South African citizens’ disturbing attitude of “it’s just the way it is”, is a spit in the face of everyone who sweated and shed blood for the rights we deserve.

If civil citizens were asked what the simple process is for filing complaints against the police or municipality, most stand with a mouth full of teeth. Why don’t we know? Because some do not care enough and others are cold and indifferent towards the disorder. How many of us are willing to pick up a black bag or shovel versus those who are willing to complain? In an age of access to a wealth of free information, ignorance and inaction is a choice.

Before we place blame on a minister or president who doesn’t even know our name, we must first ask ourselves what we are doing to make sure our human rights are enforced on those who profit from violating them. If we have taken all possible steps to make sure we get the most benefit from the Constitution, there is very little an entity can do to oppose us.

The parliament is 400 people big and South Africa is 60 million people strong. There is absolutely no excuse for half-hearted input. We all wonder why no one is doing something about our situation, but each of us is someone.

So why don’t we find ourselves in a fair country with a clean environment and strong infrastructure? Because we are violating our own human rights. If every grain of sand said: “I am only a grain of sand,” and every drop said: “I am only a drop,” we would not have a vast continent or a mighty ocean.

It is time for everyone to do their part to make sure that we collectively rise to the top.

  • Debbie van Schalkwyk is 25 years old. She completed qualifications in psychology and communication as well as investigative journalism. She is passionate about politics and the overall betterment of South Africa.

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