The purpose of this essay is to prove that the most important right that exists within the South African Constitution is the right to dignity. Although lawyers argue that there is no right that supersedes the other, the right to dignity is the core or fundamental to all rights because there is no right that can have value without it. In other words, there is no right that can be separated from a right to dignity. The author will prove his assertion by relating a few rights with the right to dignity.
Just try to imagine having the same rights as entrenched within our Constitution, but without having the right to dignity. Do you understand what that means? It means that, for example, you will have your right to life, but you will not be given self-worth. It also mean that you will have your freedom of expression, but you will not be respected as you deserve.
Why will people be given rights if they are not respected or given self-worth? One will see that really it cannot happen. People have rights because they are worthy to be respected. Therefore, this is a proof that we have all this rights because of dignity. It means that even if our Constitution did not have the right to dignity, it was going to be said to be implied.
The apartheid government illustrates the importance of the right to dignity. This is because black people then were not granted the right to dignity. They could not have any rights as they have now, including their right to vote for the political party of their choice. South Africa is commonly known for high rate of poverty, but just because all human beings are granted the right to dignity, the government respects that by ensuring that there is a social security system that provides them with the basic needs.
If human beings are not granted dignity, there is no dichotomy that could be drawn between them and animals because they will be subjected to all kinds of cruelty that happens to animals. One has to remember that animals can be killed, which means that a human without dignity, if justifiable, will be murdered and it will not matter.
After the coming into existence of the interim Constitution, Makwanyane appeared before the court, and he was about to be subjected to death penalty. It was in that instance when the death penalty was abolished in South Africa.
It was not only because of the right to life, but it was also because of his right to dignity,
In light of the above, one is able to see that the right to dignity is an important right, and rights in their entirely are provided to a person because that person’s dignity is being respected. Be that as it may, the right to dignity is not there for us to misuse it, but to use it to make our lives worthy