The biggest political event of the year will most likely be the general election, to be held in May. Political parties have already kicked off their campaigns, and South African voters are set to be cajoled and bombarded with information, some real and some fake news. It is therefore prudent to keep a cool head and the necessary perspective in the months ahead. We will assist our supporters and the general public with informative articles, statements and speeches, from the Foundation, as well as our Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) and Centre for Unity in Diversity (CUD).
The Foundation’s annual 2 February Conference (commemorating former President FW de Klerk’s historic speech in Parliament in 1990), will this year be held on 1 February, with the important theme, “Addressing Inequality”. It is a sad fact that inequality amongst South Africans has remained stubbornly high since 1994. It is in the collective interest (and a mandate of our Constitution) to address this grave issue to ensure a country for all. Invitations to this very important conference will follow shortly.
The annual CFCR Human Rights Report Card will be launched on 20 March, the day before Human Rights Day. This publication has become the “go-to” publication in assessing especially the Government’s upholding of the Bill of Rights. This year will be no exception.
The first publication of a CUD Report Card on Cultural, Religious and Language Rights will see the light in the first half of 2019. It will address the upholding of these and other rights (such as non-racialism) by the Government and other relevant institutions. We are excited by this, as it will add to the existing Human Rights Report Card in a meaningful way.
In addition to these four events, the Foundation and its two Centres will host the usual breakfast discussions, roundtable discussions and workshops throughout the year. Our public discussions for the first half of the year will, as is appropriate, focus on election-related issues, including the value of public participation in democracy. We will also continue to comment publicly and make submissions on proposed legislation. Our first of these will be on the Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill and on the draft Expropriation Bill, both with deadlines before the end of February. The other theme we continue to watch closely, is the process around expropriation without compensation (EWC). Once the proposed wording of the change to section 25 is made public, the Foundation – together with many other organisations opposed to this constitutional amendment – will likely go to court to oppose this change.
In closing, I would like to thank our subscribers and supporters for your support during 2018, and over the past 19 years. We hope that we can count on your ongoing support (also in the form of financial contributions) in 2019, as we continue to promote and defend the cornerstone of our society, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Theuns Eloff, Executive Director
7 January 2019