Here is a list of some of the Rights in the Bill of Rights. It has been written in plain English.
Equality: All people are equal and must be treated equally.
Life: Everyone has the right to life. No-one can be sentenced to death by the courts.
Human dignity: The government must respect all people. People must respect each other.
Freedom and security: No-one can be put in prison without good reason. No-one can be held in jail without a court trial. No-one can be tortured. Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence.
Slavery, servitude and forced labour: No-one can be forced to work for someone else. Everyone has the right to choose who to work for, and what work you do. Everyone must be paid for their work.
Personal privacy: No-one can be searched or have their home or possessions searched. The government cannot take anyone’s things, open people’s mail or listen to their phone calls.
Freedom of religion, belief and opinion: Everyone can believe in whatever they want and can follow the religion of their choice. This includes not believing in any god.
Freedom of speech and expression: Everyone, including the press, may write, say or print photographs or show film of whatever they want, as long as they do not break the law. But no-one is allowed to encourage violence and cause harm with ‘hate speech’ such as racist or sexist language.
Assembly of demonstration: All people are free to organise and take part in public meetings and demonstrations and to present petitions, as long as it is done peacefully.
Freedom of association: Everyone can meet with or be friends with whomever they like.
Political rights: All citizens of South Africa can start or join a political party and vote in secret if they are over 18 years old. They can put themselves forward for election in a municipality, or for national government.
Access to information: People have the right to get all information the government and anyone else has, if they need that information to protect their rights.
Citizenship: No-one’s South African citizenship can ever be taken away from them.
Freedom of movement and residence: Anyone can go or live anywhere they want in South Africa. All citizens can leave the country and come back again at any time.
Freedom of business, occupation and profession: Everyone has the right to do whatever legal work they want so long as they have the skills, experience or qualification needed for the job.
Labour relations: Everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work. Anyone can join a workers’ union and go on strike.
Environment: All people have the right to a healthy environment.
Property: Everyone has the right to own and sell property. The only time your property can be taken away from you by the government is if they are going to use it for a public purpose, such as building a dam or railway line. If this happens, the property owner must be paid a fair price for it.
Housing: No-one can stop you from getting a house, but the government does not have to give everyone a house. Rather, government must help people to get their own homes. If you have a house the government cannot take your house away from you. You cannot be evicted from your home if you own it.
Healthcare, food, water and social security: Some people cannot support themselves and their dependants. The government must do things to make sure that those people can get access to healthcare services, food and water, and financial help (social grants).
Children: All children have the right to parental care, shelter and healthy food. Children may not be neglected or abused, or forced to work. They have the right to get legal help if they are charged with a crime.
Education: Everyone has the right to a basic education in the language of their choice, where this is possible.
Religion, language and culture: Everyone can use the language and follow the culture or the religion that they choose. (This includes the right to not follow any religion.) But all people must respect everyone else’s human rights when they do so.
Access to courts: You can have a legal problem decided by a court. The government must provide you with a lawyer if you cannot afford one.
Just administration: Actions taken by the government or government departments must be legal and in line South African law and justice system.
Arrested, detained and accused persons: If you are arrested, you have the right to a lawyer and visits from family members. You may not to be kept in jail without good reason. You must be kept in proper living conditions and may not be forced to speak or to make a confession.