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SUBMISSION: LETTER TO THE EDITOR, SOWETAN

Non-racialismDear Madam/Sir

REACTING TO RACISM

The editorial entitled “React to Racism” (Sowetan, 7 October 2013) asserts “white South Africans must condemn racism in the same way that black South Africans invariably the victims do” and asks what the FW de Klerk Foundation, among others, is saying about the matter.

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CASE DISCUSSION: SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES AND ADMISSION POLICY: MEC FOR EDUCATION IN GAUTENG V RIVONIA PRIMARY SCHOOL

Foter school kidsOn 3 October 2013, the Constitutional Court upheld, in part, an appeal against a judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal that is of core importance to South African education, school governing bodies (SGBs), as well as public single-medium schools.

The matter rested upon determination of the question of who has the final say in determining admission policy in South Africa’s public schools: schools and their SGBs or provincial departments of education?

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STATEMENT: CFCR WELCOMES PRESIDENT’S DECISION TO REFER PROTECTION OF STATE INFORMATION BILL BACK TO PARLIAMENT

parliamentThe Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) welcomes President Zuma’s decision to refer the contentiousProtection of State Information Bill (the Bill) back to Parliament for reconsideration.

The Bill, which in general seeks to regulate the manner in which state information may be protected, was passed by Parliament earlier this year and was subsequently referred to the President to be signed into law in terms of section 79(1) of the Constitution. However, in a surprising yet much welcomed announcement, the President stated that, after considering the Bill in its entirety, he was of the opinion that the Bill “as it stands does not pass constitutional muster”. According to the President, sections of the Bill (in particular section 42 dealing with failure to report possession of classified information and section 45 legislating improper classification of information), “[lacked] meaning and coherence” and were therefore, in his opinion, “irrational and accordingly…unconstitutional”.

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ARTICLE: ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS – AN INCONSEQUENTIAL INTERPRETATION

EFF logoEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was established earlier this year by ousted African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader, Julius Malema and others with the objective of “pursuing the struggle for economic emancipation”. The EFF is now applying to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for registration as a political party. Although, according to their “Founding Manifesto”, the EFF will “contest political power…in order to capture the state”, their “primary role of mass organisation and activism, as a means to raise the political consciousness of the people, will remain the bedrock of [their] political practice”. 

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ARTICLE: ONE YEAR AFTER MARIKANA – ARE WE ANY CLOSER TO HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED POLICING?

SAPS foterThe recently published Green Paper on Policing has missed the opportunity of strengthening a human rights culture within the police – and thus of reducing the alarming increase in the use of deadly force and the gross violation of human rights by the South African Police Service (the SAPS).  Over the past year, South Africa has witnessed a growing number of incidents involving excessive use of force by the SAPS – some more widely reported by the media than others. These include the brutal killings by members of the SAPS of Mr Andries Tatane and the Mozambican taxi driver, Mr Mido Macia, the unlawful arrest and treatment of Mr Chumani Maxwele, who allegedly showed a rude hand sign to the President’s motorcade and, even more tragically, the Marikana incident during which 34 protesting miners were killed by members of the SAPS on 16 August 2012. 

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ARTICLE: THIS WOMEN’S DAY… LET’S TALK ABOUT MEN

Foter Womens DayOn Women’s Day we recognise the accomplishments of women, having moved forward in leaps and bounds over the decades. Apart from these accomplishments, we also recognise and celebrate our constitutional right to dignity, equality and fundamental freedoms – not necessarily as women or men, but as equals before the law and society. Gender equality is, however, not a zero-sum game – the promotion, protection and realization of the rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights is a gain for all. Founded upon the constitutional values of equality, human dignity and the advancement of human rights and freedoms, the freedom and security of the person is a fundamental right provided for in the Constitution. But do we, and in particular men, have an equal understanding of these rights?

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CASE DISCUSSION: A FAIR RULING BALANCING THE RIGHTS OF SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES AND HEADS OF DEPARTMENT

ConCourt MCSALast week, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment in which it dismissed an appeal from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in which the Constitutional Court ordered two Free State high schools to review their pupil pregnancy policies. The matter also – and very importantly – addressed the powers of a Head of a Provincial Department of Education (HOD) to issue instructions to the principals of public schools to act in contravention of school policies duly adopted by the governing body of such schools (SGB).

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