GBV, free education and unemployment highlighted during Limpopo Symposium celebrating the constitution

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Government and its law enforcement institutions are not doing enough to implement their constitutional obligations for the benefit of South Africans.

This is a view expressed by students and members of the public at the University of Limpopo during the Limpopo Provincial Symposium celebration of the 25th anniversary of the constitution, which took place in Mankweng outside Polokwane.

The event was addressed by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola.

Widely regarded as one of the best constitutions in the world, South Africa’s highest law of the land was adopted in 1996 and came into effect in 1997.

Already amended seventeen times, it’s brimming with a confluence of laws meant to protect the country’s citizens.

But members of the public believe government has not lived up to its constitutional expectations.

Issues such as free education, employment equity and gender-based crimes are among the prime concerns.

“With the current crime rate against women, I don’t think our criminal laws are doing enough to protect women, we have a justice system we think is for us but behind the scenes is not like that,” says a member of the public.

“Issue of employment equity is really law all the departments are less than 2% but the white paper says 7% but there is no one at department at that level,” another attendee says.

“The constitution is not serving us because as students we are supposed to get food allowances but we use that to pay our landlords,” a student says.

Meanwhile, Lamola says government is working to expedite the process of recognising sign language as the 12th official language.

“The current draft 18th amendment which publicised in our website is the one of the recognition of sign language as an official language. The President says we must amend to recognise sign language as an official language in addition to the 11 languages we will now add sign language,” says Lamola.

Lamola has also urged government departments and public office bearers to always exercise their constitutional mandate.