Learners commit to promote Bill of Responsibilities

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pretoria - Learners and teachers at Ingqayizivele Secondary School in Tembisa have made a commitment to promote and protect the lives of other human beings as prescribed in the Bill of Responsibilities.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty officially launched the campaign to promote the Bill of Responsibilities, a practical document that outlines the responsibilities that correspond with the rights found in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

Through the Bill of Responsibilities, government encourages learners, teachers, parents, and communities to work together to inculcate a culture of responsible citizenship in schools. 

The Bill was penned with the help of the National Religious Leaders Forum. 

Speaking at the launch on Friday in Tembisa, Surty said the Bill does not diminish the power of the Bill of Rights, and added that with rights come responsibilities.

"It recognises that freedom comes with responsibilities. It's about the creation of a caring human society. It's not a legal document but an interpretation ... the Bill of Rights," Surty said, adding that "we can only lead if we are on the right track."

Among the rights and responsibilities covered in the document include the right to education, attend school regularly, co-operate respectfully with teachers and fellow learners and adhere to rules and the code of conduct of the school.

Primedia Broadcasting CEO Terry Volkwyn said the Bill contained in the Constitution enshrines the rights of each and every citizen and seeks to protect those who are vulnerable in society, weak or marginalised.

She called the youth and religious leaders to drive the campaign and take the Bill to the communities.

She further challenged the youth to set an example and start to walk the talk. "You are somebody today and have potential to make change. Inspire the change and impact the change you want to see in your community.

"It is time to make a world a better place. Say no to drugs, bullying, teenage pregnancy, disrespectful behaviour and say yes to education, law and order and a bright South Africa," said Volkwyn.

Independent Group Newspapers CEO Tony Howard said: "Although it is not a legal document, without the Bill, our Constitution means nothing.

"It is designed to inculcate and impress on our young people, their parents and all South Africans that the Bill of Rights has a flipside - every guaranteed right comes with a set of values we as citizens must preach, practice and live up to in our daily lives."

Gauteng MEC for Education Barbara Creecy reminded learners that they are the future and no one can stop them.

"What you do and the choices you make matters to your own lives and the future of this country. In this life, you can't just take ... but have to give back," she said, adding that the department is passionate about the bill and will make it become a living reality in the country.