We are young, we are free
June 16th marks the extraordinary sacrifice that the students of the Soweto Uprising in 1976 made in protesting against their apartheid oppression.
When it comes to the law, it is clear that their legacy lives on. We honour them with every new court case that is able to apply the strong rights, laid down in our Constitution, to protect our children.
It is the youth of 1976, that helped uplift the youth of today – and thus build our future as a nation.
At Legal&Tax, we are proud to keep promoting their fight by helping to protect the legal rights of all ages.
Our Legal expert Chantel Cronje takes a deeper look at the laws that help protect the rights of the youngest proud members of the Mzanzi nation.
Bill of Rights
The Bill or Rights is a part of the South African Constitution – the legislation written to bring on the dawn of democracy.
The special people who wrote the Bill of Rights wanted a separate section on the rights of children, especially because so many of them had suffered so badly under apartheid. They were harmed by this system of inequality, whether it was because of poverty, inadequate healthcare and education, or as victims of police brutality and violence.
Democratic lawmakers wanted to make sure this suffering of the most vulnerable would never happen again, and so, Section 28 of the Bill of Rights was born.
This Section defines a child as someone under the age of 18 and lists a number of rights for them.
These include the right to:
- a name and nationality
- be cared for in a family or another suitable arrangement
- basic nutrition, shelter and health care and social services
- neglect, bad treatment or abuse
- unfairly being forced to work or carry out tasks that are not age appropriate or are dangerous to their wellbeing
They must also be protected against:
Ultimately, Section 28 states that a child’s best interests must always be the most important consideration when making decisions around their lives.
It is also important to remember that all the other rights in the constitution also apply to children. These include rights to equality, dignity and religion, to name just a few.
The Children’s Act makes sure that all the rights listed in the Constitution are protected by law.
For example, this act lists the rights and responsibilities of a parent and makes it a crime if an adult, who is legally responsible for a child, does not provide them with clothes, shelter and medical care.
It also helps with the establishment of special children’s court that can help with issues involving children. It makes rules around adoption, foster care and the protection of children from abuse and harmful practices. It also makes ensures children with disabilities and chronic illnesses have protection.
Child Justice Act
This rules and details a separate criminal justice system (courts and jails) to deal with those under the age of 18 who are believed to have committed a crime.
Basic Conditions Of Employment Act
This states that anyone under the age of 15 cannot be employed for work.
Domestic Violence Act
If you are concerned about the rights of a child, contact your life-long companion, Legal&Tax Services for further advice and service. We have the best lawyers dedicated to making sure old and young can access legal assistance.