Johannesburg — Sixteen years on since the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was signed into law, the Sedibeng District Municipality has called on all to respect and uphold it.
It was on 10 December 1996 that the Constitution of South Africa was signed into law. The final version was symbolically signed in Sharpeville, Vereeniging to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
Speaking at the celebrations to mark the historic event, Sedibeng Executive Mayor Mohale Simon Mofokeng said: "The signing in Sharpeville represented a move from the horrors of our apartheid past into an era of transparency and accountability founded upon a respect for human rights."
According to the Gauteng Provincial Government, Mofokeng said it was important to remember such events in celebrating the history of the country as it was the supreme law of the country.
"A lot of people had lost their lives in fighting for the equal rights of all South Africans as enshrined in the Constitution and that should never be forgotten," he said.
At the event on Monday, a prayer service for the Vaal and Boipatong massacres' victims, survivors and their families was held.
One of the survivors, 23 year old Mitah Molete, said she was only three when she sustained life-changing injuries on 17 June 1992, in what became known as the Boipatong massacre.
Molete said although she did not remember much, she still had a scar on her head which she sustained during the attack.
The massacre left 45 people dead and 27 seriously injured.
"This country has come so far and it is important for us to ensure the rights enshrined in the Constitution are upheld," said Molete.
The Constitution not only prescribes the rights and duties of citizens and the state, but also provides the legal foundation for the existence of South Africa as a country and outlines the structure of South Africa's government.
The most significant aspect of the Constitution is the Bill of Rights that also constitutionally entrenches socio-economic rights. The Bill of Rights is in many ways the most essential aspect of a Constitution for the people who are served by it. It stands literally as a list of the most important rights for the citizens.
Mofokeng also wished former state president, Nelson Mandela, a speedy recovery and said it was thanks to him that the country can now celebrate this day.
"It is as we continue to work together for the restoration and preservation of our rich history and heritage that our people and the generations to come will be proud to tell our stories as we proudly do. Sedibeng has a rich heritage which we will continue to do our best to preserve," said Mofokeng.