The Government, the Constitution and the Law

A response to the continued attack on the judiciary.

In 1972, the then Prime Minister, B.J. Vorster, appointed the Schlebusch Commission to investigate four anti-apartheid civil society organisations. There was no charge sheet, witnesses were unaware of other evidence given, and people being summoned to appear before the Commission did so without being afforded any of the Common Law niceties. In 1974, the National Union of South African Students and in 1975 the Christian Institute were declared ‘affected organisations’ and their foreign funding cut off.

Opposition Urged to Hold Leaders Accountable

South African constitutional law expert, Professor Pierre de Vos, says opposition parties have the right by parliamentary law to ask the president to answer the ‘bring back the money’ question.

De Vos points out that, “In terms of the rules of parliamentary, rule 111, its says that the way a previous answering session that the president was involved in, was interrupted, the question must start at the next session that the president answers questions, from the point the order was interrupted.”

The Unlawful Suspension of the National Head of the Hawks

On 23 January 2015, the judgment was handed down in the Pretoria High Court by Prinsloo J following an urgent application brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) in the wake of the suspension of the National Head of the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (‘the National Head’) (‘Hawks’). The HSF is of the view that this suspension is irregular, and that the Minister of Police (‘Minister’) had acted unlawfully.


Madonsela Considers the Constitution SA’s Greatest Heritage

Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela states that South Africa's greatest heritage is its Constitution.

In a press statement, Madonsela’s office affirms that, "South Africans' national heritage transcend[s] artefacts, historical knowledge, traditional clothes, music, language, the environment, and other beautiful legacies from our past."

She considers the Constitution as a ‘roadmap’ for the South African people.

Ten Things to Prevent Constitutional Drift Within NPOs

  1. Defining the constitution 

South African nonprofit organisations (NPOs) can essentially be established through one of three structures, being; voluntary associations, nonprofit trusts and nonprofit companies. Each of these NPOs have different founding documents, namely: constitution for the voluntary association, trust deed for the nonprofit trust and memorandum of incorporation for the nonprofit company. The definition of ‘constitution’ in the Nonprofit Organisations Act includes a trust deed and memorandum of incorporation.   

The Value of Memorial Sites in Democratic States

The Old Fort built seven years after the establishment of Johannesburg is said to be built in the Department of Public Works, Wilhelmine, Z.A.R Architectural style. The Fort was Johannesburg’s main place for incarceration of prisoners for eight decades. Notoriously known as Number Four, the Fort occupied a ‘brooding’ presence in the city, the Fort added a character to the city’s look. It gave it character. Its architectural structure speaking volumes about its use.

Centre for Constitutional Rights: Internships

The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) is a unit of the FW de Klerk Foundation that seeks to promote the full spectrum of values, rights and principles enshrined in the Constitution; monitor developments, including draft legislation, that might affect the Constitution; inform people and organisations of their constitutional rights; and assist people and organisations to claim their rights. The CFCR has no party political affiliation. 

'Unconstitutional' Sections of Sexual Offences Act Get Scrapped

The Constitutional Court has struck down two sections of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act that made it illegal for adolescents to engage in consensual sexual acts, including kissing and hugging.
In a unanimous judgment, sections 15 and 16 of the Act have been declared unconstitutional by Judge Sisi Khampepe, as they invade on the rights of adolescents to dignity and privacy.
However, non-consensual sexual acts with or between children remains illegal and is prosecutable under the law.

HSF Court Application Continues

The application by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and businessman Hugh Glenister, challenging the constitutional validity of the South African Police Services (SAPS) Amendment Act, is expected to continue in the Western Cape High Court.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, David Unterhalter, stated that their concerns related to appointments within the unit and whether political involvement and oversight resulted in interference.

Call for Funding for Marikana Miners

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) is calling on government to provide funding for the legal representation of Marikana miners, to protect the integrity of the Farlam commission.

In a press statement, CASAC warns that government's failure to provide funding for legal representation for the mineworkers who were injured and arrested during the Marikana massacre, "Flies in the face of government's latest initiative to restore stability to the mining sector."


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