The Nelson Mandela Foundation is gearing up for its 17th annual lecture at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on Saturday and vows to continue playing a vital role in society.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is expected to deliver the lecture under the theme “Constitutionalism as an instrument for transformation”.
Speaking to News24 ahead of the lecture, the foundation’s chief executive, Sello Hatang said there was no greater person to help the country understand the Constitution better than the chief justice.
Hatang said for the past four lectures, the foundation consistently dealt with issues of poverty and inequality. This year was no different.
“Constitutionalism needs to be understood in terms of how our society remains largely un-transformed,” he said.
“There are those who have always been the beneficiaries of the system under the old Constitution [and] continue to be beneficiaries.”
He said the lecture would focus on whether the Constitution can help deliver to the poor and marginalized, “those who feel they are discarded, forgotten. They are outside and always on the margins of development of society and that is what we are trying to do”.
“We will continue to play the role we have been playing, imagining a just society that we need to have. Until such time that becomes a reality, we cannot rest.”
He said the foundation also intended to announce plans for its 20-year anniversary.
The plans include “20 activations to help alleviate the issues that continue to afflict the majority of our people,” he said.
He added that in December, the foundation would visit families who lost their loved ones during apartheid and never got the opportunity to bury them.
“We are going to visit them, commemorate their loved ones and see how we can alleviate their pain.
“We will continue to see how we can help those families.”
Hatang also told News24 that in February 2020, the foundation would commemorate 30 years since Mandela was released from prison.
Hatang also touched on the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of the foundation’s application for leave to appeal a High Court ruling that refused to hold lobby group AfriForum’s deputy CEO, Ernst Roets, in contempt of court for an apartheid flag tweet.
He said the ruling was just “one part of the case”, adding that they still needed to understand the implications of the dismissal and what needed to be done.
“We are not letting it [the matter] go,” he said.
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