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The Centre for Constitutional Rights writes regular articles on topical issues, participates in the national debate on constitutional issues and interacts with government and interested groups with a view to upholding constitutional rights and values.

ARTICLE: FIGHTING CORRUPTION - THE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL

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On 9 July 2019, Advocate Andy Mothibi, head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), announced the establishment of a Special Tribunal by October 2019. The Tribunal’s purpose is to recoup money looted from the State, opening yet another chapter in South Africa’s fight against State capture and corruption. 

Estimates on the amount of monies lost through corruption amount to R1.5 trillion over the past four years alone, according to media reports. Despite the many anti-corruption mechanisms in place already, recovery of the monies lost has proven extremely difficult. The recovery of small sums, if compared to the total sums lost, already appears as a cause for celebration. Just recently, for example, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced that the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) had recovered R115.9 million in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act during June and July of 2019. This includes State monies lost through fraud and corruption. In light of this situation, the Special Tribunal’s effectiveness in recovering State money will be key in determining how the government’s newest anti-corruption campaign will go down in history.

ARTICLE: GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND THE PRESIDENT’S PROMISES: IS THE STATE REALLY SAYING - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

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Following the recent harrowing reports of the violent murder and rape of women that sent new shock waves through the country, tens of thousands marched to Parliament on 5 September to demand action and justice.

The President, criticised for his inaction during the week of protest, finally addressed the nation on the recent brutal rapes and murders on the eve of 5 September. In a heartfelt speech, the President acknowledged that South Africa is in great mourning and pain. He stressed that gender-based violence (GBV) requires a multi-sectoral approach, and has to be faced head-on, as a matter of great urgency. 

ARTICLE: A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE: INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AND ANCESTRAL LAND

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was observed on 9 August 2019. This day commemorated the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. It importantly also serves to recognise Indigenous communities’ rights to self-determination and rights to traditional lands, territories, and resources.

The United Nations (UN) estimates there are a total of 370 million Indigenous peoples across 90 countries in the world. 1.6 million Indigenous peoples live in Canada - approximately 4.9% of the national population - according to the state’s 2016 census. The Canadian Constitution recognises Aboriginal peoples as including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit groups. “First Nations” itself is a broad category, which includes the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Cree and several other Nations in terms of the Constitution. 

ARTICLE: WHAT IS THE END GAME - SANDF DEPLOYMENT

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It has been over a month since the most recent deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) into the gang-ridden Cape Flats of Cape Town. On the one hand, the City is one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations - and on the other, has one of the highest murder rates (over 60/100 000) in the world. The SANDF was deployed on 18 June 2019 for what has been wrongly cited by many sources as three months, when according to the President’s letter to Parliament, the deployment is to run from 18 July to 16 September 2019 - just under a two-month period.  This gives the SANDF significantly less time to execute its mandate in the areas into which it was deployed. Contrary to the expectations of many members of the public and public officials who consistently called for the SANDF’s deployment, there has been little significant improvement to the lives of those affected. 

ARTICLE: THE WESTERN CAPE CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT

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The Western Cape is a dangerous place for children. The province has the highest child murder rate in the country, with four children murdered every week. Besides that, children are subject to violence, abuse and rape every day. This is in stark contrast with the rights extended to children under both international and South African law. South Africa has committed to respecting children’s rights, including their right to life, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the South African Constitution.

ARTICLE: PRETORIA HIGH COURT CONFIRMS THE PRESIDENT ACTED RATIONALLY AND REASONABLY IN PRESIDENT V THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR AND ANOTHER

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On Thursday, 8 August 2019, the embattled Public Protector (PP) received yet another legal blow when the Pretoria High Court (the High Court) granted the President’s declaratory order confirming that he had complied with the Public Protector’s remedial action against Minister Gordhan. 

This remedial action relates to the PP’s investigative report on the approval of former deputy SARS Commissioner, Mr Ivan Pillay’s early retirement pay-out (PP’s report on Pillay-pay-out).

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