Know your rights

Some which I myself had no information about.

I have come across people who have been treated unfairly at government offices or institutions, those experiencing issues of service delivery, those who have found themselves unhappy as consumers, and others who had been treated unfairly at work.

Parents have also streamed in with children who have been given so many rights, that they have become a nightmare to deal with, which some teachers would agree with.

The challenge then becomes that all these people end up on your doorstep, with the belief and hope that you will help or expose the person or company they believe is in the wrong.

However half the time, we then find ourselves in a position where we can’t touch the matter for various reasons.

This has then led me to realise that part of the problem in these situations is that, people don’t seek help in the right places or from the right people.

And in addition to this, in most cases we, especially as black people, are not well informed and mostly don’t know our rights.

We then sit back and do nothing either because of that lack of information, not knowing our rights or because of the feeling that nothing will be done.

Though some of these may be true, I think some of the reasons why some people and businesses are not held accountable for their actions, is because we don’t stand up for ourselves.

In addition, we don’t ask for information on help that is available for us and on what our rights are.

For example, a few years ago one of the major cellphone providers started sending me statements claiming I had taken two cellphones from them.

On many occasions I went to different shops to ask about this and was given the runaround.

Months later I then found out that I could send a consumer complaint and ask for the matter to be investigated for me.

Without spending much, I was given instructions on how to lodge a complaint, the matter was investigated and it was proven that I had not taken or agreed to the products.

This made me see that if I had not done anything, I would have maybe found myself even blacklisted for something I had not done.

So make sure you know more about the law, your rights and responsibilities, who can help you and what procedures you need to follow.

Don’t just sit back without even trying.

By Teboho Seabelo

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