Recent media reports indicate that in certain upmarket suburbs of Worcester communities via the Community Police Forums have introduced a green card for certain blue collar worker which allows them free access to the upmarket communities for work.
Individuals who do not have this card are prone to harassment and will struggle to find employment in these communities.
On the other hand communities are feeling vulnerable to crime in South Africa and are looking for practicably mechanisms to safeguard themselves and their families.
The communities behaviour raises a number of constitutional and moral challenges.
One of the core constitutional rights is the right to human dignity and according to section 1 of the Constitution it states that the Constitution is founded on the values of “human dignity, the achievement of equality and the achievement of human rights and freedoms.”
The conduct of the communities as stated in the public media definitely infringes the human dignity of the individuals.
The Constitution in section 21(3) state that every citizen has the right to enter, to remain and reside anywhere in the Republic.
Section 22 further states that every citizen has the right to choose the trade, occupation or profession freely.
The conduct of these communities infringes the human rights of these poor and marginalised individuals.
I am sure from a personal perspective most South Africans would distance themselves from this type of conduct and will state that this form of conduct is unacceptable.
However we need to find ways in this country to reduce crime and give communities the reassurance of their safety. This is a very broad topic and will need further investigation and discussion. However the green card process is not the answer.
So the challenge this week is that each of us must confront the unconstitutional behaviour of individuals in our immediate society.
Let us be the change we would like to see in our society!!
Adv. Nathanael Siljeur