Human Rights Day 2015 | Western Cape Government

Human Rights Day 2015


Human Rights Day is more than just a public holiday. It commemorates a day that gave South Africans the basis of one of the country’s most important documents, the Bill of Rights. 

Each year, this day is celebrated on 21 March and reminds us of the struggle thousands of people endured to ensure we all have equal human rights, and that we will never be denied these rights.

You can find the Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of our Constitution.

Why do we have Human Rights Day?

On 21 March 1960 hundreds of South Africans took to the streets to protest against pass laws, which required black South Africans to carry a document of identification at all times. Failure to do so would lead to arrest and detention.

What started as a peaceful protest turned deadly when police opened fire and killed more than 60 people, injuring 180 others. These people were protesting against unfair laws, and were demanding their human rights, which are now protected under the Bill of Rights.

What happens when your rights are violated?

There are various organisations in our country that will be able to help you if you feel your rights have been violated by anyone.

  • South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)

The SAHRC will help you if any of your human rights have been violated.

To lodge a complaint you need to complete the online form. You can also contact the Western Cape Office for more information:

Address: Seventh floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: 021 426 2277
Fax: 021 426 2875

  • Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)

IPID will be able to help you if your rights are violated by the police. You can download a complaint form or you can email your complaint to or fax it to 021 949 3196. You can also contact them on:

Postal address: Private Bag X 43, Bellville, 7535
Physical address: First floor, Fintrust Building, Corner Petrusa and Mazzur Street, Bellville, 7530
Tel: 021 941 4800
Fax: 021 949 3196

  • Public Protectorsouth-african-flag-on-hand.jpg

If you want to complain about a member of a government department, you should contact the Public Protector You can also use the following details to reach them:

Postal address: Western Cape Regional Office, PO Box 712, Cape Town, 8000
Physical address: Fourth floor, 51 Wale Street/Bree Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 423 8644
Fax: 012 423 8708

If your employer has violated your rights, you should contact the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration after you have unsuccessfully tried to sort the matter out at work. You can also contact their call centre on 0861 16 16 16 or contact their George or Cape Town office on the following:

CCMA Cape Town Office
Postal address:
Private Bag X9167, Cape Town, 8000
Physical address: 78 Darling Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 469 0111
Fax: 021 465 7193/7/87/462 5006

CCMA George Office
Postal address:
Private Bag x6650, George, 6530
Physical address: 62 Cathedral Street, Cathedral Square 2, George, 6529
Tel: 044 805 7700
Fax: 044 873 2906

  • Commission on Gender Equality

If you were discriminated against because of your gender, you should contact the Commission on Gender Equality on 021 426 4080/3 or 0800 007 709. You can also lodge your complaint online or visit their office and contact them at the following:

Physical address: Fifth floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001
Tel: 021 426 4080/3
Fax: 021 424 0549

Let us celebrate

The Department of Social Development, together with NGO Oasis, will be hosting a soccer tournament on Saturday, 21 March, from 08:30 at Fives Futbol, Promenade Mall, Mitchell's Plain for young people to commemorate Human Rights Day.

If you are not sure how to celebrate Human Rights day this year, here are some events across the province that you can go and have a look at. National Government also has events planned across the country.

Watch what Capetonians had to say about Human Rights Day

The content on this page was last updated on 20 September 2017