According to the Bill of Rights, government has a duty to ensure that every South African is treated fairly and has access to clean water, adequate housing and education.
Citizens also should never need to fear the leaders they elect to serve them.
Yet because of the corrupting nature of power, we certainly have enough examples from our past to show us that they often do.
Chapter 9 Institutions were established to protect the rights of South Africans under the Constitution.
Duplication of functions, limited budgets, questions of independence and access to ordinary citizens – are some of the challenges that have bedeviled these institutions.
The 2007 Asmal report wanted some of them, including the South African Human Rights Commission, merged to make them more effective.
However, 12 years later nothing has happened.
Parliament’s Office of the Institutions Supporting Democracy has been probing the feasibility of this and progress on the matter remains unclear.
“There has been debates on whether that’s good or not but I think the debate must involve the public as well. But that will depend on what direction they take,” says Executive Director for the Human Rights Foundation, Hanif Vally.
Our producer Lindiwe Mabena spoke to Vally and Corruption Watch’s David Lewis on the effectiveness of these institutions.
Watch the report below: