Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany would like to draw the attention of the Cape Town legal community to a public panel discussion on Monday, 24 January 2011 at 6.30 at 6, Spin Street (Idasa Building), Dakar-Room.
21 and 15 Years on: to what extent can Germans and South Africans enjoy their respective „living“ Constitutions?
The 1949 German Grundgesetz (Basic Law) which was amended after German unity in 1990 and the 1996 South African constitution both marked the onset of genuine democracy.
Henceforth, the executive, legislative and the legal arms of the state recognize the supremacy of the rule of law as embodied by the respective written constitutions. Nevertheless, a constitution is not a „dead body“ but lives through its daily implementation and the interpretation provided by the Constitional Court. Individual citizens and the public in general view a constitution as a protection of basic rights and expect legislation and executive decisions alike to take into account their actual situation in society.
The panelists will discuss whether the constitutional practice in both countries is living up to this challenge, bringing the constitution in line with current developments and problems in society as a whole.
Justice (ret.) Pius Langa, former President of the South African Constitutional Court
Roelf Meyer, former Minister of Constitutional Affairs (1992 to 1996) and chief negotiator at Kempton Park
Professor Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Federal Minister of Justice and Member of the Bundestag (Federal Parliament), honorary professor at the Free University of Berlin
Professor em. Hans-Peter Schneider, founding director of the German Institute of Research in Federalism, Hannover, and member of the Constitutional Court of several German Federal States (Bundesländer).
Moderator: Jaco Barnard-Naudé, associate professor, University of Cape Town
Following the discussion refreshments will be served.
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