South Africa: Human rights should be at centre of Ramaphosa’s new presidential term

Cyril Ramaphosa is due to be inaugurated as president of South Africa on 25 May 2019, nearly three weeks after his African National Congress (ANC) party’s election victory. Ahead of the inauguration, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa said:

Cyril Ramaphosa must place human rights at the centre of the government’s domestic and foreign policy priorities
Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa

“As his African National Congress prepares to lead the country for the next five years, Cyril Ramaphosa must place human rights at the centre of the government’s domestic and foreign policy priorities. This begins with ensuring justice for victims of the events in Marikana, who are still waiting for answers almost seven years on.

“Cyril Ramaphosa should publicly commit to ensuring full respect for the human rights, dignity and equality of all South Africans – the principles on which the country was founded as enshrined in the bill of rights.

Cyril Ramaphosa should publicly commit to ensuring full respect for the human rights, dignity and equality of all South Africans
Shenilla Mohamed

“He should draw inspiration from Nelson Mandela who stood with human rights even when it was unpopular to do so, and did not shy away from calling out leaders who found themselves on the wrong side of humanity.”

Background

The ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) emerged victorious following the general elections that were held on 8 May 2019. Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the country for the next five years as the leader of the party.

In its human rights  manifesto for political parties and candidates who contested the election, Amnesty International South Africa called for human rights to form the basis of the incoming  government.

On 16 August 2012, the South Africa Police Service fatally shot 34 men at Marikana. 10 others died in the preceding days, including policemen.  More than 70 others sustained serious injuries. The men were Lonmin employees and had been engaged in strike and protest action over pay and conditions at the mine.