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Reflecting on the rule of law being stress-tested in South Africa
Rule of Law & Constitutionalism

The Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions was the keynote speaker at this public Dialogue co-hosted with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The hybrid event offered an important opportunity to discuss the importance and challenges of protecting the rule of law, and of making it a reality for all who live in South Africa.

Speaker: Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation

HSF

NMF Chief Executive shares experience from Foundation project in KwaZulu-Natal

Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, described the rule of law as a precondition for development, against the backdrop of a project in the Durban area undertaken by the NMF over recent months following the events during the violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal in 2021. He shared some of the experience of his team and explained the approach of social bonding practice, undertaken with networks of practitioners to lay the foundation for jointly building trust and sustainable solutions.

Speaker: Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

HSF

Reflections by Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

In his key note, Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, emphasized „The rule of law is not an elitist theory. It is the most important protection for the weak against the powerful. Accountability is key“. He shared examples of much needed progress made, and underlined „Prosecutors are lawyers of the people. In recent years, we let our people down. This must change. It is changing. But it must change even faster. We are working very hard, and recent arrests are promising developments.“ The DNDPP expressed his appreciation for reflecting in this sacred space at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He underlined that, sadly, the fight for the rule of law is becoming sometimes dangerous. He concluded „But be assured that the leadership of the NPA is not afraid. We will not let Madiba down.“

Speaker: Prof Sandy Africa, Chairperson, Expert Panel into the July 2021 Civil Unrest

Prof Sandy Africa, Chairperson, Expert Panel into the July 2021 Civil Unrest

HSF

Engaging contribution by Chairperson of Expert Panel into the July 2021 Unrest

In her contribution, Prof Sandy Africa alluded to key factors to strengthen the rule of law in South Africa. Political agency is crucial - „everyone has the right to their political views - where we draw the line is when you break the law.“ 

Racial justice, and equal access to opportunities have to be achieved, and rural neglect needs to be overcome. How can we have inclusive discussions on these difficult questions? 

Prof Sandy Africa concluded: „Why is the rule of law so important? We fought for it. We died for it. It protects us from arbitrary rule.“

 

Speaker: Ottilia Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies

Ottilia Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies

HSF

Rebuilding trust as a fundamental aspect of strengthening the rule of law

Ottilia Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects at the Institute for Security Studies, made an absolutely crucial point: „Constitutionalism and rule of law must be something we experience. Only 27% of South Africans trust the criminal justice system. How do we rebuild this trust?“

Concluding the insightful dialogue, Sello Hatang reminded us how Madiba, Nelson Mandela, was full of hope, in dark times, even in jail in 1969. At the former office of our „Ancestor of hope“, he recounted hope being expressed in contributions by the speakers and audience particpants, and encouraged us to keep hope alive.

You can watch a recording of this Dialogue here:

 

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This dialogue was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, with a live stream on the interactive platform of the Foundation. Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, gave the keynote address, with Prof Sandy Africa and Ms Ottilia Maunganidze as respondents on the panel and a discussion facilitated by Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation (29 June 2022).

Nelson Mandela Foundation

 

 

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