Hon Speaker and fellow South Africans, respect for our human rights is at the heart of realising the full potential of our constitutional democracy. Our Constitution safeguards the right to life, human dignity and freedom, but in our day-to-day existence we experience a true disparity between these laws and the quality of life in the South Africa of today.
Of course, you've heard a lot about the 1960 massacre where 69 lives were lost - lives of people who wanted one basic right, namely the right to move freely. This was one of many apartheid laws that took away the dignity of our people.
I ask today: Have we come far enough in fulfilling the legacy of these 69 fallen heroes and also, of course, the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and of our own late President Nelson Mandela?
Yes, today we have overcome these atrocious apartheid laws, but now we face a new set of challenges as we remember those who sacrificed their lives to give us the right to freedom and equality. One of three Chapter 9 institutions that deal with human rights, the SA Human Rights Commission, SAHRC, was established to promote respect for, observance of and protection of our human rights without fear or favour.
The reality is that we live in a South Africa where a community like Letlhabile in the North West has not had water for 20 years now. I must then ask: What has happened to the right of access to water?