South Africa has chosen the month March as the month to commemorate our Constitutional Rights. This commemoration is the result of the period between 1959 to 1960 when the PAC organization led a campaign for civil rights and an end to the pass laws. The most significant of these peaceful protests occurred in Sharpville, Gauteng and Langa in Cape Town. But the apartheid government forces brutally suppressed and killed the demonstrators. The month of March serves as a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices made by South Africans during the apartheid era.
The South African constitution is regarded as one of best constitutions in the world but most South Africans live in very bad conditions. Unemployment is a major issue in South Africa, with over 14 million people, including many women and youth, out of employment.
The second chapter of the Constitution of South Africa establishes that the constitutional law is the foundation of democracy, dignity, equality and freedom. However, despite everything, the constitution doesn’t mention the Right to Employment.
The lack of job opportunities in rural areas and the decline of traditional industries due to globalisation has left many young people without work. South Africa, due to its colonial history and racial discrimination, faces many challenges in its efforts to develop strong industries capable of creating sustainable job opportunities for its people. The lack of education and training opportunities for disadvantaged communities and the exploitation of workers by employers are major obstacles to progress in this regard
From 1994 to 2002, over a million jobs were lost, and the unemployment rate rose to over 40%. The situation has since improved slightly, but there is still much work to be done to create more job opportunities and to protect the rights of workers. The global economic recession of 2008 and the Covid-19 pandemic have further exacerbated the problem of unemployment in South Africa, leaving many people struggling to find work.
It is therefore essential that South Africa upholds, enforces and includes the right to employment in the constitution to bring back the dignity of its citizens. Steps should be taken to create more job opportunities and to improve working conditions for all people. The struggle for employment rights is part of the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa.