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Poor service delivery, corruption persists despite progress

President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged ongoing challenges in realizing human rights for all South Africans, citing poor service delivery and corruption as major obstacles. In a keynote address at the National Conference on Human Rights in Boksburg, the president stated that the country has made immense progress since 1994 but still has a long way to go in fully upholding constitutional rights.

“Certainly, there have been challenges and shortcomings over the past 30 years, and we have a long way to go towards completely fulfilling the promise of the constitution,” Ramaphosa said. He highlighted key legislation like the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act as efforts to promote human rights.

Ramaphosa pointed to advancements in gender equality, with more women assuming leadership roles in public and private sectors. Laws tackling domestic violence, sexual abuse, harassment, and workplace discrimination were cited as protecting women’s rights. However, he implied more work remains on this front.

The president also noted the establishment of institutions like the South African Human Rights Commission, Office of the Public Protector, and Commission for Gender Equality as safeguards for constitutional democracy. His remarks suggested these bodies play a crucial role amid ongoing service delivery and corruption challenges.

While acknowledging the country’s human rights journey is unfinished, Ramaphosa struck a balanced tone. He emphasized that South Africa should not “shy away from the immense progress” made since apartheid’s end, even as it reckons with obstacles preventing full constitutional realization for all citizens.

The conference aims to analyze factors impeding human rights over the past three decades as the country looks to accelerate reforms and accountability measures. Ramaphosa’s address underscored the administration’s stated commitment to confronting corruption and governance shortfalls hampering equitable rights and services.