Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
28 January 2011

CASAC media statement

MEDIA STATEMENT

24 January 2011

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) met on Saturday 22 January 2011 to consider its programme of action for the year. Key features of the programme are as follows: 

  1. CASAC proposes to develop a comprehensive response to corruption. The proposal will seek to foster a partnership between government and active citizens. CASAC will seek to meet with Government during March this year to share its proposals before releasing the documents to the public. To this end structured engagements will be held with key stakeholders, including civil society bodies, Parliament, business, labour and youth and student formations to discuss and debate the proposals. 
  2. Public interest litigation for the realisation of the rights envisaged in the Constitution is an important part of our programme. For this reason it is critical to assess the impact of public interest litigation on social change. CASAC will be hosting a Constitutional Law Public Interest Litigation Symposium in May 2010 under the title of “Maximising Impact: Strategies and Tactics for the Next Wave of Public Interest Litigation in South Africa”. Immediately preceding the Symposium, there will be two workshops on public interest litigation and social change, bringing together lawyers, public interest litigation organisations, NGOs and social movements. The Symposium and workshops will bring together international and local experts in the field.
  3. CASAC will also seek to convene an Education Seminar within the next two months to identify strategic interventions in the education sector. Focus areas will include access, quality of education, as well as the health and well-being of learners. We have committed to supporting a pilot Constitutional Literacy Project in the Western Cape through which university law students from UWC and UCT will conduct classes in selected high schools focusing on aspects of the Constitution.
  4. CASAC will develop a project proposal focusing on the history of the Constitutional Court with interviews with members of the inaugural Court. We must capture the memory and oral history of this key ingredient of our constitutional democracy. “Conversations with the Constitutional Court” will involve interviews with the judges before an audience, and will result in an audio-visual as well a printed record of this important period in the development of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.

Sipho Pityana, Chairman of CASAC says “Our programme will seek to revive the spirit of active citizen participation around these issues and in broader public life, and demonstrate the centrality of the Constitution in shaping the society we wish to create”.

Enquiries:

Lawson Naidoo

Executive Secretary

lawson@casac.org.za

Cell: 073 158 5736

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