Human wrongs into Human rights.
We Support Human Rights Defenders in South Africa
The LRC is a human rights organisation founded in 1979 to provide legal services to poor, marginalized, and vulnerable groups within South Africa, and to assist with the struggle against apartheid. When the Constitution was adopted in 1996, the LRC’s work areas stemmed across the discourses of civil, political, and socio-economic rights which yielded exceptional results that changed the lives of millions of South Africans.
Today, the LRC’s energy is focused towards the two biggest crises facing South Africa, that being the land debate and the provision of quality education to children. The LRC undertakes evidence-informed action focused on advancing the transformation of South Africa as a democratic society, using the law as an instrument to remove persistent and pervasive structural obstacles to human rights.
Friends of the Legal Resources Centre of South Africa assists the LRC financially, contributes to its work through joint initiatives, and helps publicize its accomplishments in the U.S. and globally.
Poverty, inequality, hunger, crime and parental education levels are interconnecting reasons behind poor education outcomes in South Africa, particularly among predominantly black and/or rural communities. In 2020, the Department of Basic Education reported that over 5000 schools have little to no water supply, over 400 schools have no electricity supply and over 3000 schools use pit toilets as their main ablution facilities. Additionally, many schools’ classrooms are overcrowded, with some schools reporting a 60:1 learner to teacher ratio. Major, structural change is necessary to ensure that South Africa meets its constitutional obligations regarding the provision of education.
The LRC has successfully litigated a number of cases that have uplifted the right to education of learners across South Africa. The LRC’s strategy includes a wide range of clearly defined actions and interventions aimed at ensuring that these injustices faced in the education sector are dismantled. The LRC is currently developing further advocacy campaigns and strategic litigation to continue to uphold the basic education rights of all learners in South Africa.
South Africa’s history of land dispossession by both the colonial and apartheid regimes has left the vast majority of South Africans either landless or with insecure tenure to the land or housing they possess. The South African Constitution sought to radically transform this position and society itself through land reform that took shape thus: restitution of land dispossession after 1913, the equitable redistribution of all land and resources, and, finally, to ensure the security of tenure for all South Africans. Transformation has come at a painfully slow pace for various reasons. Rampant corruption and state maladministration has decimated land-reform budgets and prioritized elite capture and disingenuous land claims. The prevailing reality is that most of the population – especially poor and lower-income black South Africans and women in particular – continue to be denied access to the right to security of tenure, equitable access to land and housing, as well as equality and dignity.
The LRC works to use the law, in particular constitutional and customary law, to support democratic practices and institutions in land reform to ensure that land is restored to communities prejudiced by unjust and discriminatory colonial and apartheid-induced laws and practices.