On the last day of the fifth Parliament of South Africa and to mark Human Rights Day, MPs debated human rights under the theme "accelerated socioeconomic transformation, the key to human rights and a better life for all".
Speakers from parties across the political spectrum noted that although there had been undeniable change since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa still has a long way to go until the rights of all its citizens are fully realised.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Ngakula of the ANC started out by noting that "our democratic dispensation will be 25 years on April 27 this year, quite a milestone we must admit".
"However, while our democracy's founding principles were hoisted on the strongest pillars of an ethos of human rights, our record on that question is very poor.
"Indeed, our human rights culture is very poor," she emphasised.
DA MP Sejamotopo Motau took to the podium and started his speech by noting that "the slur of choice" of MPs these days is "race, racist or racists".
Motau continued that "racism is not a colour or a power thing, racism is an evil human failing that must be eradicated like all pestilences that frustrate our nation-building efforts".
Referring to the planned amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, Motau stated that "this country will rue the day the Bill of Rights is amended for electioneering and myopic dangerous political expediency".
EFF MP Sibonakaliso Phillip Mhlongo took to the podium to recount the call by Robert Sobukwe on March 21, 1960, to the oppressed people of South Africa to " let go of their chains".
Mhlongo added that "we cannot be taught about human rights by the closet racists who have been recycled through the years of apartheid tyranny such as the Democratic Alliance".
"We cannot be taught about human rights and dignity by the ruling party which has overseen the deepening of the oppression of African people since 1994," he said.