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Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition:“Fighting

Corruption in Africa: a Youth Perspective”


African Union Advisory Board on Corruption





Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition:

Fighting Corruption in Africa: a Youth Perspective”


Are you an African youth concerned about corruption on the continent?

Have you or anyone close to you been a victim of corruption?

Do you believe your future is in any way threatened by corrupt practices?

Would you want your voice to be heard on the issue of corruption?

And do you have a passion for writing?


Then you should seriously consider participating in this year’s ‘Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition,’ co-organized by the Governance and Public Administration Division (GPAD) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Secretariat of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC). This is within the framework of annual festivities to mark the International Anti-corruption Week, which is a major item in the Regional Anti-corruption Programme for Africa, developed by the UNECA, in collaboration with the AU-ABC.


The Regional Anti-corruption Program for Africa aims at up scaling the fight against corruption on the continent with a view to ensuring a corruption free, better governed and economically prosperous African continent.


As you are well aware, corruption negatively affects all segments and groups in society, particularly the youth, who constitute the majority in many African countries. This essay competition is therefore intended to serve two main purposes: firstly, to establish the level of awareness, among African youths of the manifestations and impact of corruption; and secondly, provide a platform for African youths to present their perspectives on the causes, manifestations and impact of corruption and corrupt practices.


This year’s theme is “Fighting Corruption in Africa: A youth Perspective” If you have a story or an experience to share relating to this theme, this is a wonderful opening for you – make your submission and let your voice count.


The authors of the best three essays will be flown to the host city for the 2012 International Anti-corruption Week, to directly take part in the festivities. More significantly, the five leading authors will participate in a final competition, during which they will make oral presentations (of their essays) to a panel of judges, who will select the three top winners who will then receive special awards from African dignitaries and officials from the two convening institutions.


Eligibility Criteria:


-       Applicants must reside in an African country

-       Applicants must be currently attending secondary or high-school

-       Essays must be between 4-7 pages long (single line spacing)

-       Submissions must be the unaided work of applicants

-       Submissions should be either in English or French

-       Applicants must be willing and fit to travel


To submit an entry:


Email your essay with your name, age, school, country of origin, and contact information (email address, telephone number) to: John I Gbodi (e-mail: and copy Francis Ikome (e-mail:



The deadline for submission is: 15th August 2012­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________







African Union ADVisory board on corruption



Concours d’ Essai de Jeunes sur  la Lutte contre la Corruption:

“La Lutte contre la corruption en Afrique: La Perspective des Jeunes”


Etes-vous jeune Africain concerné par la corruption sur le continent?

Avez-vous personnellement ou un proche de vous , été une fois victime d’un acte de corruption?

Pensez-vous que votre futur est de quelque façon menacée par des actes de corruption?

Voudriez-vous que votre voix soit entendue sur le problème de la corruption?

Avez-vous de surcroît la passion d’écrire?


Alors, vous devriez sérieusement envisager de participer au Concours d’Essai de Jeunes sur la lutte contre la corruption, organisée cette année, par le Département de la Gouvernance et l’Administration Publique (DGAP) de la Commission Economique des Nations Unies pour l”Afrique (CEA) et le Secrétariat du Conseil Consultatif de l’Union Africaine sur la Corruption(CCUAC). Ce concours s’inscrit dans le cadre de la commémoration annuelle de la Semaine Internationale de Lutte contre la Corruption, qui constitue une activité majeure du Programme Régional de Lutte contre la Corruption, développé par la CEA en collaboration avec le CCUAC.


L’objectif du Programme Régional de Lutte contre la Corruption est d’accélérer la lutte contre la corruption sur le continent aux fins de bâtir une Afrique épargnée de corruption, une Afrique mieux gouvernée et une Afrique économiquement plus prospère.


Comme vous le saviez certainement, la corruption affecte négativement, plusieurs secteurs et groupes de la société, et plus particulièrement la jeunesse, qui constitue la majorité de la population dans plusieurs pays en Afrique. Ce concours d’Essai a donc pour but d’une part de s’enquérir du niveau de prise de conscience des jeunes sur l’existence et les conséquences  de la corruption et d’autre part, de fournir une plate-forme aux jeunes aux fins de présenter leurs perspectives  quant aux causes, manifestations et conséquences de la corruption et de ses pratiques.


Le Thème choisi pour l’Essai cette année, est: “La Lutte contre la Corruption en Afrique: La Perspective  des Jeunes”. Si vous avez une histoire ou une expérience sur ce thème et que vous voudriez partager avec les autres, voici alors une occasion propice. Faites votre contribution et faites entendre votre voix.


Les auteurs des trois (3) meilleurs essais feront le voyage en avion sur la capitale Africaine qui a été choisie pour la commémoration,  cette année 2012,  de la Semaine Internationale de Lutte contre la Corruption, pour y participer. Auparavant,  les auteurs des cinq (5) meilleurs essais, participeront ā une compétition finale, oū ils seraient priés de faire une présentation orale de leurs textes, devant un jury qui sélectionnera les trois meilleurs, qui recevront ensuite divers prix de la main de hauts dignitaires Africains membres des deux organes organisateurs.


Critères de selection:




The role of democratic institutions of governance, particularly Parliament, in promoting human rights and civil liberties

by Trevor Manuel
at the Kader Asmal Human Rights Awards Lecture
Library Auditorium, UWC
23 July 2014

Good evening comrades, friends, honourable guests and award nominees. It is an honour and a privilege to be asked to give the Kader Asmal Human Rights Awards lecture. Kader was not just a comrade and a friend. He was an inspiration to myself and indeed to millions of freedom loving South Africans. Kader’s intellect, cutting wit, good humour, rock-solid commitment and courage to the cause of human rights made him one of the most admired leaders of his time. Kader, while dedicating much of his life to the cause of freedom and democracy in South Africa, was also an internationalist, advancing the cause of human rights throughout the world, fighting injustice on multiple fronts.

I have been asked to focus on the ‘role of democratic institutions of governance in promoting human rights and civil liberties’. While we have a myriad of democratic institutions that all play a role in supporting good governance, the role of parliament (the legislators) and the relationships between parliament and citizens and parliament and the executive are fundamental to achieving the human rights objectives in our Constitution. It is these relationships which a hope to explore in some detail.

I need to start with a caveat – human rights and civil liberties are ends, not means. The Preamble to the constitution uses three words of two letters each to mandate the purpose of the very adoption of the constitution, “so as to”. This mandate covers four key tasks –

“Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;

Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person, and

Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.”

The relevant debate today is not a narrow one about civil liberties. It is, rather, a discussion on the quality of the democratic project. There is no doubt that the constitution provides a strong basis for democracy. It articulates the rights, expectations and duties of both citizens and the state; and makes provision for a range of checks and balances. Too frequently, we attempt to abstract rights and liberties, and the checks – such as the Chapter 9 institutions – and ignore the entire mechanics of what produces a democratic impact in the lives of ordinary citizens.

The Financial Times published a recent article by Christopher Caldwell under the rubric, “Democracy is not a synonym for good government”, an argument which compels one to sit up and take notice. Caldwell drew extensively on a recent book by John Dunn of Cambridge University. Caldwell writes, “While never undervaluing the people’s right to choose their leaders, Professor Dunn draws a sharp distinction between that and self-government. No one inspecting the United States today could sanely conclude that it is governed by its people,” he writes – granting at the same time that the people’s right to choose their rulers is not for nothing.”

So, when the people have chosen, as we have recently done in fulfilment of our obligation to participate each five years, and we have a constitution as strong and articulate as ours is, what happens then?

The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, (IDEA) recently published a paper entitled “Assessing the quality of Democracy” . They present five key principles to be considered in such an assessment of democracy:
• Democratisation is a process that requires time and patience
• Democracy is not achieved through elections alone
• Democratic practices can be compared but not prescribed
• Democracy is built from within societies; and
• Democracy cannot be imported or exported, but can be supported.

So obviously, our focus has to be on the development of an indigenous South African democracy, born of our circumstances, built, continually by all of us in order to achieve what we define as human rights in our Constitution.

The IDEA paper describes the principles that guide the assessment of democracy as being “popular control over decision makers and political equality of those who exercise that control”. Within the model that we have chosen, there are peculiar South African challenges. The first of these, important in the context of “popular control over decision makers’ is our electoral system. President Nelson Mandela in his last address to Parliament (26 March 1999) alluded to this issue when he said, “Because the people of South Africa … chose a profoundly legal path to their revolution, those who frame and enact the Constitution and laws are in the vanguard of the fight for change. It is in the legislatures that the instruments have been fashioned to create a better life for all. It is here that oversight of government has been exercised. It is here that our society, in all is formations, has had an opportunity to influence policy and its implementation.” And then he raised the all-critical question of that popular control when he said, “we do need to ask whether we need to re-examine our electoral system, so as to improve on the nature of our relationship as public representatives with the voters.”

President Mandela’s speech raises two specific relationships in relation to our legislators. The first is to the people of South Africa and the second is to the executive which they are required to have oversight over. Furthermore, in ‘fashioning the instruments’, the legislators also pass the laws that give effect to our Constitution, that put in train the means of implementation. In this process, of passing laws, non-legislators play a crucial role. Does our present electrical system enable the fulfilment of these multiple relationships and roles?

It is in the maturing of our constitution that we understand very clearly that, as Caldwell argues, “Democracy is not a synonym for good government”.

The key responsibility is to evaluate how all parts of the government interact. We frequently tend to overlook the important role of the Executive in shaping policy and overseeing its implementation. The formulation of policy is frequently but an expression of intent, more important may be the actual implementation of those policies – a function that resorts with the Executive Authority and the Accounting Officers acting jointly. Perhaps the biggest difficulty arises from the fact that the Constitution sets a range of responsibilities that must all be addressed. Section 27 of the Constitution sets out the following mandate:
(1) Everyone has the right to have access to –
a) health care services, including reproductive healthcare;
b) sufficient food and water, and
c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance.
(2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights.
(3) No one may be refused emergency medical treatment.

Against this section of the Bill of Rights, the same constitution requires, in Chapter 11, that the state establishes security services and articulates their responsibilities in the context of sovereignty.

It is important to recognise that as and when policies are adopted, there are no absolutes. All of the mandates drawn from the constitution need to co-exist, and in balance to ensure that the overall quality of democracy, provided for in our Constitution, is implemented. As it happens, this quarter of the parliamentary calendar is devoted to precisely that task. In respect of all functions, the question of whether the provisions are adequate, “within available resources”, and within each line function whether the selection of programmes and the metrics for implementation are adequate. This is what the departmental budget debates ought to be about. Perhaps we have allowed this important annual period of accountability to be debased. Parliament has become a sausage machine, operating with a single objective, that every vote has been debated, however superficially, so that parliament can vote on the entire budget as quickly as possible. It is literally impossible to follow the debates, by department, or to enquire whether there is an overall commitment to produce measurable outputs from the application of available resources, as distinct from promises of new initiatives. Similarly it is not possible to place all of these commitments side-by-side and answer whether on the basis of these decisions; the democratic project is on track. I should point out that this is not a problem of the fifth parliament. The slide has been steady and continuous; though , as in this year, it appears exponential because of the time pressures created by the elections.

We have no choice but to place this key interface between the executive and the legislature on the table for thorough re-examination and urgent action. Optimally, the budget vote debates should inform the public on whether South Africa is any closer to realising the commitments framed in the Constitution – both in the Preamble, and in the Bill of Rights. Let’s return to Section 27 highlighted earlier – how many South Africans used the health system in the past year? For what purpose? Are we any closer to bridging the quality gap between private and public healthcare provision? Have we defined what ‘sufficient food and water’ means? Are we any closer to ensuring such sufficiency than we were last year? And what are the plans to accelerate provision over the next three years, and the next twelve months, in particular? To put it more generally, are we progressively realising all of the rights enshrined in the Constitution?

Ranjeni Munsamy writing in the Daily Maverick last week records, “It is a busy week in Parliament as government departments are on a conveyor belt to present their budgets. On Tuesday there were nine budget debates and on Wednesday there will be 10. There are bucketloads of information being flung out, most of which will go unreported due to the sheer volume the media has to contend with.” Parliament is the final arbiter. There is no ‘democracy inspector’ sitting outside of parliament assessing whether it discharges its mandate in the letter and spirit of the constitution. So, how do we know whether the ‘bucketloads of information’ contain the detail and the metrics that will be found useful? Who evaluates? Who cares?

Within the mechanics of our Constitutional order, parliament also has a role as the legislature. In the past while, too many pieces of legislation have been returned from the Constitutional Court as being non-compliant. There are also instances where the opinion of the Constitutional Court is canvassed before the President assents to a piece of legislation. Furthermore, there is a great unevenness in the quality of legislative crafting – again, I want to emphasise that this is not a flaw of the fifth parliament (that probably has not passed any legislation yet) – some of this has lingered for some time. The Public Protector Act (Act 23 of 1994) has a curious crafting at Clause 9, which was amended in 2003 to read – “No person shall – insult the Public protector or the Deputy Public Protector”;. No such provision exists for the President, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice… perhaps it should be inserted into the SABC Act to provide similarly for the COO – acting, or otherwise!

So with this state of affairs, how does democracy explain the words of Madiba when he said, “those who frame and enact the Constitution and laws are in the vanguard of the fight for change”?

We must also discharge views on the second aspect in the IDEA paper– “political equality of those who exercise control” over decision makers. We have an obligation to ensure that discussions such as this; about law, rights, the strength of our democracy and the quality of life of our people neither becomes nor remains the preserve of a small elite.

There is a global fiscal crisis unfolding in democracies across the world. Joseph Stiglitz, in a recent paper for the Roosevelt Institute , argues that there are three phenomena at the root of this crisis – “rising income inequality, money power in politics and systematic tax avoidance by the super-rich and globalized corporations”. In examining this issue further, Michael Ignatieff writes , “As inequality rises, Stiglitz argues, it suppresses effective demand. Unequal societies hoard wealth at the upper end instead of spreading consumption and investment through a broad middle class. When inequality holds back demand, corporations sit on large cash hoards, unwilling to invest or consume. As the rich become ever more ingenious in avoiding taxes, the cost of carrying the liberal state falls on the middle class, forced to shoulder the burden alone. It is hyper-inequality that is choking off demand and starving the liberal state.”

In South Africa, the impact of inequality is far more profound. The real challenge here is that there is a perception that income taxes are borne disproportionately by wealthier people. Yet, they opt out public services such as education, healthcare, and even policing. So the sense that there is no value for money for taxes paid, is an additional catalyst for tax avoidance. Yet, these are the classes that chatter. People who believe that their rights are undermined by the extension of services to the majority, happen to be those with voice. We need to factor this in to our own appreciation of that important principle articulated in the IDEA paper that speaks of “political equality of those who exercise control” over decision-makers.

These issues are important in understanding the statement by Christopher Caldwell, that democracy is not a synonym for good government.

It bears repeating that the Preamble to our Constitution sets the goals for good governance. In particular, the sub-clause that speaks of the need to “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.” The challenge to develop policies appropriate to this mandate, the need to allocate appropriate resources to provide the services that improve the quality of life, and the oversight to ensure that the measurements are in place to ensure that progress is traceable; together describe good governance. The over-emphasis on Chapter 9 Institutions is most unfortunate. The holy grail of governance will be attained when these institutions are to the national body politic what the immune system is to the human body – generally out of sight, but working hard and screaming loudly only when the patient is ill or disease ridden. But that should not detract from the imperative of good governance.

There are a series of questions that we have to grapple to better understand the challenge of good governance. Do we know what, as South Africans, our sense of common purpose is? How do we define common purpose in a society as grotesquely unequal as ours? Is good governance possible in the absence of the essential threads that bind societies – the intangibles such as trust and hope?

And, what of power? Should this be an impolite topic whispered about in dark corners? Or do we need to recognise that it will remain at the epicentre of politics. It needs to be understood, permitted and checked. Appreciating this is also an essential dimension of good governance.

Obviously, we cannot outsource the responsibility for the re-establishment of the sense of good governance to either outside agencies or elected representatives. The challenge is that all of us need to be involved in the process of continual building, and of asking the tough questions. Yet, we must continue to ensure that our public representatives comprise competent women and men.

The author Tony Judt raises the following as a general observation on the building of good societies. He writes ,
“The moral impulse is unimpeachable. But republics and democracies exist only by virtue of the engagement of their citizens in the management of public affairs. If active or concerned citizens forfeit politics, they thereby abandon their society to its most mediocre and venal public servants. The British House of Commons today is a sad sight: a parlor of placemen, yes-men and professional camp followers – at least as bad as it was in 1832, the last time it was forcibly overhauled and its representatives expelled from their sinecure. The US Senate, once a bulwark of republican constitutionalism, has declined to a pretentious, dysfunctional parody of its original self. The French National Assembly does not even aspire to the status of an approval stamp for the country’s president, who bypasses it at will.”

The ‘assurance’ that we are not alone is cold comfort. Ours is the youngest republic, and ought to be the most aspirational. The key issue is why good men and women appear to disengage.

In our parlance, the message is clear, “Unzima lomtwhalo, sifuna simanyane”.

Thank you


12 May 2014

The removal of the Department of Mineral Resources and other government departments from the scope of enquiry of the Farlam Commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 44 people in Marikana in August 2012 is deeply worrying.

This announcement published in the Government Gazette on 5 May 2014, fundamentally amends the terms of reference of the Farlam Commission, and is designed to avoid any proper scrutiny of government departments in the massacre of miners, security personnel and police officers at Marikana.

The Commission’s initial terms of reference required it to consider the roles played by Lonmin, SAPS, AMCU, NUM and ‘the Department of Mineral Resources or any other government department or agency’ in the massacre that has tarnished our post-apartheid society, and shocked the South African public.

This change will also undermine the series of public seminars that has been envisaged under phase 2 of the Commission looking at the broader socio-economic and labour market issues that prevail in the mining sector. This must of necessity look at the role of the Department of Labour.

CASAC’s Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo says:
“This narrowing of the terms of reference will significantly reduce the scope and comprehensiveness of the Commission’s final report and accordingly undermines the status and credibility of that report. Aside from SAPS no other state institution will be investigated by the Commission. We will therefore not have a full picture of the circumstances that led to this shameful massacre.”

The terms of reference were also amended to direct the Commission to conclude its investigation by 31 July 2014 and submit its final report within six weeks thereafter. Whilst we welcome the announcement of a final deadline for Judge Farlam’s report, given the drawn-out process of the Commission’s work thus far, we must be sceptical about the seeming haste in ending the life of the Commission.

In particular it is unclear whether the Commission will have sufficient time and information to produce a report that deals with all the issues in manner that gives all South Africans, and particularly the families of the victims, some closure to this tragic episode in our history. Judge Farlam’s report must also make recommendations for appropriate mechanisms for accountability of those responsible for the massacre. This decision by the President to excise a key part of the enquiry will greatly handicap Judge Farlam in properly executing his mandate.

For further enquiries
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

Submission to Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee

Media statement
23 April 2014

CASAC has today made a written submission to the Speaker of the National Assembly regarding the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the President’s submission and response to the Public Protector’s Report.
The submission focusses its attention on the specific findings made against the President including the violation of the Executive Member’s Act and the responsibility of the National Assembly to hold the President to account.
The submission states that “…the investigation by the National Assembly cannot be made subject to the report of the SIU (Special Investigating Unit)…the SIU is not competent to investigate the findings of the Public Protector, namely that the President acted in breach of the Constitution and the Code of Ethics. Any investigation by the SIU will not address those issues. Under the Constitution and the Executive Members Ethics Act, that is the responsibility of Parliament.”

We have requested that members of the Ad Hoc Committee be furnished with the submission.

For a copy of the submission please email

Lawson Naidoo
Executive Secretary
073 158 5736

MEDIA STATEMENT - Public Protector Report on Nkandla

The Public Protector is appointed under the Constitution to strengthen constitutional democracy by probing improper conduct and maladministration in state affairs. In her report on the upgrades at the President’s private residence at Nkandla she has found that the President has violated the Constitution.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) believes that under these circumstances, it is necessary to consider whether the violation is of such a serious nature to require invoking the provisions of section 89 (1) of the Constitution. In our opinion, the issue is whether it would be constitutionally intolerable for the President to remain in office.

The Public Protector has made a positive finding that the President acted in breach of section 96(1) and (2) of the Constitution (paragraphs and of the Public Protector’s report). These sections place two obligations on the President. First, he must comply with the code of ethics for members of the Executive. Second, he must not act in a manner inconsistent with his office or expose himself to a situation of a conflict of interest.

CASAC Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo says:
“The Public Protector has found that the President violated both constitutional duties. First, by wearing “two hats” as guardian of the country’s resources and as a direct personal beneficiary of improper privileges, he violated the duty to avoid placing his personal interests in conflict with those of the state. Second, by failing to cause an investigation as soon as he became aware of the expenditure into his home, he acted in a manner inconsistent with the duty to protect public funds.”

Section 89(1) (a) provides that the President may be removed from office by a resolution supported by two thirds of the members of the National Assembly, for a “serious violation” of the Constitution or the law, or in terms of s. 89 (1) (b) for “serious misconduct”. Given the findings of the investigation as a whole, the quantum of the monies expended and the role of the President, it
would be difficult to sustain any argument that the findings of the Public Protector do not amount to serious violations or misconduct.

CASAC therefore believes that it would be constitutionally intolerable for Parliament not to consider whether the constitutional violation or the misconduct identified by the Public Protector fall within the category of violations in section 89 (1).

We call upon the Speaker of the National Assembly to convene a sitting of that House to deliberate on this matter.

For further enquiries please contact
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736 or 021 685 8809

CASAC's Kader Asmal Human Rights Scholarship Award

Applications for CASAC’s Kader Asmal Human Rights Scholarship Award are now open. The award is for a Masters course in Human Rights @ Trinity College in Dublin. Application details can be found at

Media Statement on the killing of the Mothutlung Protestors

14 January 2014

CASAC is outraged at the killing of two people at the hands of the police during a protest against a lack of water services in Mothutlung in the North West province yesterday.

Citizens would have every right to expect that lessons would have been learned and remedial measures implemented in the aftermath of the killing of Andries Tatane in April 2011, the Marikana massacre in August 2012 and the killing of Mido Macio in Daveyton in February 2013. So far no one has been held to account for the killings of Tatane, Macio and the dead of Marikana. The failure to act against the perpetrators of these killings will only serve to undermine respect for the rule of law.

So despite the protestations of the Minister of Police that a culture of impunity does not permeate the South African Police Service (SAPS) we have seen no evidence of a change in the manner of public order policing.

CASAC Chairman Sipho Pityana says:
“Indeed it appears that a policy of maximum force is prevalent within the SAPS, a view that CASAC outlined in its written submission to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. The obfuscation of SAPS officials testifying before the Farlam Commission strengthens the perception that the police are not prepared to accept responsibility for their actions and to be formally held accountable.”

We are concerned that over a year after the Human Rights Commission published its report on the killing of Andries Tatane, its recommendations appear to have been ignored by the SAPS – these recommendations included the following:

• that SAPS improves the ‘training of police officers in managing and regulating gatherings to ensure that future police interventions in public protests result in a more peaceful and non-violent outcome’;
• that SAPS together with the HRC develop a training manual for the SAPS Public Riot Unit;
• SAPS to actively engage with communities where there are popular protests;
• That the Minister of Police and Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA) report twice a year on measures put in place to address the phenomenon of increasingly violent community protests. COGTA is also required to report on measures to ameliorate systemic failures in local government and interventions to avoid service delivery protests.
The Minister of Police must urgently clarify the position of the SAPS with regard to the circumstances when live ammunition may be used, and what measures have been put in place to ensure that the constitutional rights of the public are respected by the SAPS.

Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

CASAC Media Statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

06 December 2013

Nelson Mandela was one of South Africa’s foremost constitutionalists, a noble democrat, a great leader and a hero to millions across the globe. He epitomised the fortitude of the human spirit and the dominance of good over evil.

Everywhere, the name Nelson Mandela is synonymous with the idea of freedom, with the advancement of human rights, and with the loftiest human virtues of courage, self-sacrifice and dignity.

The death of Nelson Mandela provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on the values to which we aspire as a democratic society and the standards of probity we have a right to expect of our leaders.

In his opposition to apartheid Mandela was a symbol of principled resistance. Imprisoned for his defiance, he united people across the globe. Despite his 27 year incarceration he was the symbol of the resistance to the brutal apartheid state, honoured and decorated in all corners of the world.

As the first democratic president of the Republic of South Africa, Mandela’s magnanimity in victory, and his pursuit of national reconciliation, set the tone for the kind of nation and society that we aspire to. President Mandela set extraordinary standards and thereby helped encourage the prospect of a new era of democratic politics in Africa.

His commitment to justice, to the rule of law and to judicial independence never wavered – even when his Presidential decisions were subjected to review by the courts and, on occasion, over-turned. He demonstrated the utmost respect for the democratic institutions of governance that he fought so hard to establish. He deferred to the courts when many felt it was unnecessary to do so and bestowed upon Parliament the courtesy that it deserves from the executive branch of government. He respected the notion of the separation of powers, and ensured that he and his Ministers were accountable to Parliament.

Thus, his legacy will never diminish, but will remain a beacon of hope and inspiration to democrats and constitutionalists everywhere. He will inspire generations to come, not just here, but across the globe.

Let us celebrate his life by re-committing ourselves to the principles that he fought for and was prepared to die for – equality, justice and human dignity.

We join millions of people throughout the world in expressing our sorrow at his departure and in offering our condolences to his family and his many dearly-loved friends.

CASAC Welcomes Decision on Marikana Funding

15 October 2013

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) welcomes the decision by Judge Tati Makgoka in the South Gauteng High Court ordering Legal Aid South Africa to fund the legal representation of workers who were injured in the Marikana massacre last year. We hope that this judgment will now mark the end of the protracted battle by the injured workers to secure their legal participation in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

CASAC Chairman says:
“We urge Legal Aid SA to respect this judgment, adhere to it and not to appeal it. There is little to be gained from further legal wrangling over funding; indeed any appeal will only serve to further deepen the wounds of these injured workers. Our overriding concern is for Judge Farlam to be able to expeditiously fulfil his mandate by identifying those responsible for the loss of life”.

The interests of justice demand that all parties involved in the tragic massacre be afforded an opportunity to participate fully in the Commission. It is only by hearing the testimony of all parties can Judge Farlam make his findings with regards to what happened on 16 August last year.
We trust that the Commission will now be able to proceed with its work without further delay and report as soon as possible. We call on all parties to co-operate to ensure that this is achieved.

Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736


It will no doubt be argued by some that Judge John Murphy has transgressed the judicial boundaries in making far-reaching findings in the case brought by civil society group, Freedom under Law, in the Richard Mdluli saga.
Not only did the judge order that the decisions not to prosecute Mdluli for murder and associated charges, as well as fraud and corruption, and to terminate the disciplinary proceedings and revoke his suspension, be set aside, he ordered that these various charges be reinstated forthwith, and prosecuted diligently and without delay. Judge Murphy delivered a detailed, reasoned judgment within two weeks of hearing the matter, an example many of his colleagues on the bench would do well to follow.
Whilst the case raises critical issues about the separation of powers under our constitutional democracy, the factual findings lay bare a grim picture of the extent to which those tasked with the responsibility to uphold law and order have bent over backwards to protect a high profile and seemingly influential figure such as the former Head of Crime Intelligence in the SAPS. The case lists among its respondents the Acting NDPP, the head of the Special Commercial Crimes Unit, the National Police Commissioner and the Minister of Police.
The Constitution confers on the NPA the power to institute criminal prosecutions on behalf of the state and enjoins it to exercise this power without fear, favour or prejudice. This is a broad and weighty power but not an unrestrained one. The court rejected the argument that the power to review prosecution decisions vested solely in the NDPP. Judge Murphy ruled that the decisions of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are not immune from judicial review even though the Promotion of Administrative justice Act (PAJA) specifically excludes from its purview decisions to institute or continue a prosecution. Murphy found that decisions not to prosecute or to continue a prosecution are reviewable under PAJA as well as on the basis of legality or rationality. Those wielding public power must do so in a manner that is transparent, reasonable, lawful and accountable.
Under the Prosecutions Policy which guides the functioning of the NPA, once there is sufficient evidence indicating reasonable prospects for a conviction, a prosecution should follow unless the public interest demands otherwise. In this case the public interest would appear to demand that a senior police officer charged with serious offences such as murder, kidnapping, fraud and corruption should be prosecuted.
Murphy ruled that Lawrence Mrwebi did not possess the power to withdraw the fraud and corruption charges without the concurrence of the Director of Public Prosecutions for North Gauteng, and that he did not secure such agreement. Mrwebi’s decision flagrantly violated the Prosecution Policy and was unlawful.
The DPP for South Gauteng sought to justify the withdrawal of the murder and related charges on the basis of there being no direct evidence linking Mdluli to the murder of Oupa Ramogibe, the husband of Mdluli’s former lover. The DPP relied on the finding of the inquest he had initiated to support this decision. Murphy found that, on the contrary, the ‘evidence presents a compelling
prima facie case against Mdluli’. He also stressed that an inquest is not an appropriate forum to determine the culpability of any person; it is an investigative process aimed at determining the cause of death – there was no dispute that Ramogibe had been shot! The inquest was also restricted to looking at the issue of murder and could therefore not be relied upon to justify the decision to quash the 17 associated charges of attempted murder, assault, kidnapping etc.
The Acting Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had informed Parliament that he took the decision to withdraw the disciplinary charges against Mdluli in February 2012 on instructions from authorities or persons ‘beyond him’. Despite the hackneyed protestations by National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega that Mkhwanazi was ‘quoted out of context’ no evidence to this effect was proffered. Whilst Mkhwanazi did not disclose who exactly instructed him, we should perhaps commend him for exposing the fact that hidden hands and hidden agendas exist in the upper reaches of the criminal justice system. Murphy however castigates Mkhwanazi for succumbing to this pressure and failing to protect the integrity of SAPS.
The case therefore constitutes an embarrassing defeat for the NPA and the SAPS. That the judgment of Murphy will be appealed will surprise no one because if it stands it may have grave consequences for President Zuma in his quest to now avoid ‘having his day in court’. Regardless of the outcome of any appeal there are some inescapable conclusions to be drawn from the case.
Firstly the improper interference of unknown persons in the functioning of SAPS does not bode well for the shiny new Hawks unit which has been seeking to persuade the Cape High Court that it is insulated from undue political influence under the amended SAPS Act. Mkhwanazi’s experience will expose the porous Chinese walls that SAPS has been seeking to build around the Hawks.
Secondly, Glynnis Breytenbach will now feel vindicated having consistently maintained that she was suspended and faced disciplinary charges in order to prevent her from pursuing the fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli.
Thirdly, Murphy was scathing in his criticism of the manner in which the Acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba and Mrwebi managed the case – he was moved to state: “The attitude of the respondents signals a troubling lack of appreciation of the constitutional ethos and principles underpinning the offices they hold”. Their dilatory and less than co-operative attitude towards the court in this case comes close to contempt of court; directions from the Deputy Judge President were ignored and flouted, affidavits were filed months late, and full information was not disclosed to the court. It is now clear that neither Jiba nor Mrwebi are fit and proper persons to hold office in the NPA.
The newly appointed NDPP, Mxolisi Nxasana, assumes office on 1 October – it he is to succeed in restoring the credibility of the NPA, there needs to be a clear-out of those bringing the NPA into disrepute – as a start steps should be instituted to remove Jiba and Mrwebi from office.
Lawson Naidoo is the Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)


The Minister of Health announced today results of an investigation into the state of healthcare in the Eastern Cape and aspects of a plan to address the crisis. He acknowledged that the impetus behind this response was pressure from the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition (ECHCAC) and a report released by certain Coalition members.
The ECHCAC welcomes the Minister’s commitments and is dedicated to monitoring their implementation. We will moreover continue to report on problems brought to our attention.
The Minister confirmed the veracity of the report and observed that it is “poignantly titled Death and Dying in the Eastern Cape”.
We applaud the Minister’s swift response and look forward to working with him going forward. We are encouraged by his commitment to tabling a comprehensive plan to address the crisis as called for in the ECHCAC memorandum.
In contrast, the Provincial Department of Health continues to pronounce conflicting positions. On the one hand, the MEC and the ECDoH spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo have repeatedly denied that there is a crisis; on the other, they have claimed that they are doing all in their power to fix it yet the problems are so extreme that they are unable to do so. We encourage the National Department to work with the Provincial Department to enable it to come to terms with the reality of the crisis and coordinate a plan to address it.
We note also the importance of addressing the crisis at the facility level and are encouraged that the Minister has responded in regard to certain facilities that we have brought to his attention. We also agree with the Minister’s assessment that the OR Tambo District is in need of particular attention. However, we note that the crisis in the Eastern Cape results in large part from system and management failures and will continue until these are addressed. Moreover, the crisis is not confined to OR Tambo or the facilities mentioned in the report but reaches across the province. We therefore encourage the departments to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to turn around the state

of the healthcare system throughout the province. Such plan should include measurable indicators and milestones as well as clearly define responsible parties.
The ECHCAC has provided the provincial and national departments until 11 October 2013 to table a comprehensive plan to address the systemic afflictions that plague healthcare in the province. We reiterate that call now. As the problems in the Eastern Cape healthcare system require long-term solutions, the Coalition is committed to a long-term campaign: we will continue until people in the Eastern Cape have access to the healthcare services that the Constitution entitles them to. We believe that our strength derives in large part from our broad base and are glad to have seen the Coalition grow considerably in recent weeks.
The Coalition also wishes to respond to the MEC’s reported comments in a TRU FM radio discussion on Sunday. The MEC claimed during the discussion that ECHCAC had on Monday cancelled a meeting scheduled with him. This is incorrect. We have for a long time been trying to meet with the MEC to discuss the challenges in the Eastern Cape health system. However, as the timeline below reveals, the MEC has cancelled and postponed our meetings on numerous occasions.
Early 2013: The Treatment Action Campaign first requests to meet the MEC. A meeting is confirmed for 9 August and reconfirmed when the TAC pointed out it was a public holiday.
26 July 2013: The 9 August meeting is rescheduled by the MEC’s office to 20 August.
16 August 2013: The 20 August meeting is rescheduled by the MEC’s office to 13 September. The letter states it is for “Reasons beyond my control”.
5 September 2013: The Coalition proposes a meeting for 9 or 10 September to discuss the report of which he had been couriered an advance copy.
5 September 2013: The MEC writes to the Coalition and schedules a meeting on 16 September.
11 September 2013: The MEC writes to the Coalition and cancels the 16 September meeting citing “prior commitments”.
The Coalition applauds the Minister’s swift response and awaits signs of similar dedication from the MEC.
The ECHCAC is a coalition of organisations and individuals primarily from the Eastern Cape dedicated to fixing the healthcare system and ensuring the realisation of the constitutional right to health in the Province.
Visit the ECHCAC website and sign the memorandum at:
Kwazi Mbatha: 078 059 9309 / Anele Yawa: 073 555 8849