Excluding refugees from the right to work as private security providers simply because they are refugees will inevitably foster a climate of xenophobia which will be harmful to refugees and inconsistent with the overall vision of our Constitution. As a group that is by definition vulnerable, the impact of discrimination of this sort can be damaging in a significant way. In reaching this conclusion it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the social stigma which may result from such discrimination, but also the material impact that it may have on refugees.
I attended the meeting in Parlaiment this morning between an Ad Hoc Committee of Parliament and the leaders of the various Chapter 9 Institutions. The Committee has been tasked by Parliament to review these instituions and this morning’s meeting saw the start of his process. I have been asked to act as Constitutional adviser to the Committee. In his speech Kader Asmal explained the approach that will be taken:
It is important to note that the Committee will undertake its work within the boundaries of this constitutional framework. This requires the Commission to proceed with sensitivity and with honest respect for the independence and impartiality of the various institutions under review. At the same time the Committee has a Constitutional oversight duty and cannot afford to be timid or hesitant about the carrying out of this important task. The Committee is of the view that chapter 9 institutions have a pivotal role to play in the strengthening of our democracy. The Committee is also of the view that a non-partisan Ad Hoc committee of Parliament is uniquely positioned to review the work of these institutions.
In his off the cuff remarks he was a bit less polite, referring to the reports churned out by some of these institutions at a cost of more than half a million Rand and then the report is filled with pictures of the staff. A Commissioner from the Commission for Gender Equality – which have been beset with problems and have not really gained much credibility over the years – complianed that the Commission was not given enough money to do its work properly. While the commisioner said this I was wondering how many of the members of the Committee had a cynical moment and wondered whether more money would really fix the problem.BACK TO TOP