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.
The FW de Klerk Foundation annually hosts a conference on 2 February in Cape Town (this year's event falls on Friday, 31 January), to coincide with the announcement in Parliament in 1990 of the release of Nelson Mandela and other prisoners and the unbanning of several organisations. Each year the conference tackles a topical theme, with input from a diverse range of influential speakers. Previous speakers include former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Justice Albie Sachs, Dr Mathews Phosa, Ms Rhoda Kadalie, Prof Frans Viljoen, Mr Sipho Pityana, Adv Jeremy Gauntlett, Mr Johann Rupert and former President FW de Klerk.
The FW de Klerk Foundation has taken note of the annual 8 January statement of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, commemorating the 108th birthday of the organisation.
We welcome the fact that it appears that the governing party, while celebrating its birthday, shows signs of introspection about its “own missteps over the last decade”. These include the challenges it is facing, amongst them the ailing economy, disunity and factional fighting in the organisation, and a lack of capacity in the civil service and SOEs to serve the people of South Africa.
We also welcome the resolve of the governing party to strengthen efforts to fight State capture, corruption and unethical behaviour in its own ranks and in broader society; as well as the promise to “restore our public institutions to a higher standard of accountability and service”. We welcome the fact that the governing party is committed to “ensure that all the necessary support is provided to our law-enforcement agencies so that they can investigate thoroughly and prosecute effectively without fear or favour”.
At the start of a new year, we all reflect on the year ahead, what we want to do, what we are excited about, and what we are afraid of. What about the country - politics, the economy and our social life? It is impossible to make predictions, but one can describe certain trends, which are accompanied by certain events and their possible consequences.
Broadly, there are five trends that emerged during 2019 that will significantly impact the political and socio-economic landscape in 2020 - and which can help one to understand and cope with the year.
The first is a growing trend of centralisation and state control (read ANC control) of various aspects of South African society. There are currently four pieces of draft legislation (most of which were recently published by the ANC-controlled Parliament before the December holidays) that have one thing in common: greater and/ or absolute control over important national issues, which do not necessarily need State control or that should not be controlled because it is in the private domain according to constitutional requirements.
2019 is racing to a close and one can - without fear of contradiction - say that Eskom’s Stage 6 load-shedding was the low point of President Ramaphosa's year. It was also clear when he delivered his statement after meeting with the Eskom Board and management. And speaking of poor timing: on Monday, December 9, he wrote in his weekly newsletter to the nation about the miracle of Medupi and how impressive and imposing it is... In addition, we all remember his assurance at the beginning of the year that load-shedding at Eskom was something of the past; a promise repeated only a few months ago by Deputy President David Mabuza. And of course, many also remember that when President Ramaphosa was still Deputy President, he was in charge of the task team responsible for repairing State-owned entities (SOEs).
On 6 December 2019, Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee published the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill (Amendment Bill) for public comment. In terms of Parliament’s Notice, the public has until 31 January 2020 to submit written submissions on the proposed Bill.
The Ad Hoc Committee is tasked with the drafting of the amendment to section 25 of the Constitution - the property clause - to make “explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution, with regards to expropriation of land without compensation, as a legitimate option for land reform”.
On 31 October 2003, the United Nations General Assembly decided to declare 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. Its role would be “to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the UN Convention against Corruption” that came into force in 2005.
Article 6 of the Convention required States Party to ensure the existence of “a body or bodies to prevent corruption”. Such bodies would be granted the necessary independence to enable them to carry out their functions effectively and free from any undue influence. They would also be provided with the “necessary material resources and specialised staff, as well as the training that such staff may require to carry out their functions.”
On 29 November 2019, the FW de Klerk Foundation (the Foundation) made a written submission on the National Health Insurance Bill [B11-2019] (NHI Bill) to the Portfolio Committee on Health. The NHI Bill envisions the establishment of the NHI Fund - a health financing system serving as the “single purchaser and payer of health care services”, - to effectively achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and give effect to the State’s constitutional duty to provide access to healthcare services.
The Foundation unequivocally supports the pursuit of UHC - characterised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as providing all people with access to health services of sufficient quality, without financial hardship. The Foundation, however, does not believe that the proposed NHI is the only means to achieve this noble goal for South Africa.
The FW de Klerk Foundation (the Foundation) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to upholding the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution). To this end, the Foundation’s Centre for Constitutional Rights (the CFCR) seeks to promote the Constitution and the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Constitution; to monitor developments, including legislation and policy that may affect the Constitution or those values, rights and principles; to inform people and organisations of their constitutional rights and to assist them in claiming their rights. The Foundation does so in the interest of everyone in South Africa.
Accordingly, the Foundation endeavours to contribute positively to the promotion and protection of our constitutional democracy. As such, the Foundation welcomes the opportunity to make a concise submission - per the invitation by the Portfolio Committee on Health (the Committee) - on the proposed NHI Bill.