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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.

Apartheid illustration

 

There has recently been some debate regarding when, how and by whom apartheid was dismantled.   The “why” of the dismantling of apartheid is more complex: growing international pressure and domestic resistance undoubtedly played a central role.  However, other factors included the evolving attitudes of white South Africans; growing acceptance of the injustice of apartheid among white leadership groups; and the irresistible need to adjust policy to accommodate the de facto realities of an increasingly integrated economy and society.

 

Apartheid illustrationFew people would disagree with the Employment Equity Act’s goals of “eliminating unfair discrimination in employment” and ensuring equitable access to the economy for all South Africans. We need an open, equitable and non-discriminatory economy.

However, in its pursuit of these goals the EEA has now become a core tool in the ANC’s project to reshape society and the economy according to demographic representivity (DR).  The ANC’s objective has long been to ensure that DR is achieved in the private sector to the same degree that it is already a reality in the public sector. As Rob Davis put it in 2012 “We need to make sure that in the country’s economy, control, ownership and leadership are reflective of the demographics of the society in the same way that the political space does.”

 

Apartheid illustration

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) recently handed down a well-reasoned judgment that underscores a critical number of core principles insofar as language rights and education are concerned in South Africa.
 
The South African Constitution is very clear on language rights in public educational institutions - including universities and schools. Section 29(2) provides that ‘Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable. In order to ensure the effective access to, and implementation of, this right, the state must consider all reasonable educational alternatives, including single medium institutions, taking into account:
 
(a) equity;

(b) practicability; and

(c) the need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices.’
 
The above is also reinforced by other provisions pertaining to language rights in the Bill of Rights, for example, the right to use the language of one’s choice (Section 30) and that persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community, to enjoy and use their language (Section 31(1)(a)).
 

75 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR: PART I 1945‐1994The FW de Klerk foundation welcomes the Helen Suzman Foundation’s (HSF) application, direct to the Constitutional Court, to declare that Parliament, the President and the Cabinet have failed to fulfill their obligations under the Constitution to prepare and adopt legislation to regulate the state’s response to the threat posed by COVID19.

The HSF has asked the Court to direct the Cabinet and Parliament to prepare and adopt such legislation – and to declare that the powers that the Minister of Cooperative Governance has assumed under the Disaster Management Act to manage the crisis will be terminated as soon as the requested legislation has been adopted.

75 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR: PART I 1945‐1994This article will consider the factors that have determined the course of events during the past 26 years of ANC rule. They include jockeying for position between the various factions within the Alliance; the contest between ideology and pragmatism; and the temptation to translate political power into personal enrichment.

The first two years of ANC rule represented the golden (but perhaps false) dawn of the new era. South Africa won the Rugby World Cup; Nelson Mandela used his immense charisma to promote reconciliation and national unity. The country was ruled by a Government of National Unity (GNU) that represented 90% of the electorate.

75 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR: PART I 1945‐1994The 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe have been the most remarkable period in human history. They have witnessed unimaginable economic growth; an explosion in technology; and an enormous expansion of our understanding of the universe, of life and of ourselves. The human condition has improved more rapidly than at any time in history – whether measured by economic wellbeing, longevity, education or freedom.

They have also changed South Africa beyond all recognition.

DEFENDING THE 1996 CONSTITUTIONIn six articles that recently appeared in Politicsweb, Prof Koos Malan provided an expert analysis of many of the problems facing the constitution.

He is clearly not a fan of the 1996 constitution. He questions the wisdom of those who have put their faith in the prospect that it would “usher in and guarantee peace, reconciliation and the protection of rights for all.”

He goes on to question the premises on which so many South Africans have based their faith in the constitution – that it is ‘supreme’, that it contains adequate checks and balances – and that it will be administered by a fearless and impartial judiciary.

SA lockdownNo right-thinking South African doubted the necessity of the lock-down for the past three weeks. President Ramaphosa was widely lauded for his decisive and clear leadership. The majority of South Africans adhered to the regulations of the past three weeks, because we believed that the infection curve would flatten and that lives would be saved. Many excused the unintended consequences of police and defence over-reaction, and even understood that the curtailment of basic human rights may be necessary for the greater good. When our president announced a two-week extension of the lock-down, he was emphatic that some regulations would be relaxed in due course. Most of us understood the need for the extension, and we welcomed the prospect of the relaxation of the regulations to help the economy’s recovery.

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