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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.

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On February 2, 1990, to the surprise of both friend and foe - and only four months into his term as president - FW de Klerk announced that he would unconditionally release Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and unban the ANC and other organisations. The goal was to create the circumstances within which negotiations on the future of South Africa could take place. As a result, he opened the door for a new future and the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him (and Nelson Mandela).

The FW de Klerk Foundation was established in 1999 to promote and protect FW de Klerk’s most important legacy: the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Foundation has since commemorated 2 February 1990 each year by holding a national conference. The themes of these conferences are usually devoted to the most burning issues in the country.

This year’s theme was “Beyond state capture and corruption”. The intention was to move beyond the analysis of the origin and implementation of state capture and to give the audience (and the country and its people) hope for a better future. The words and actions of newly-elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa were cautiously welcomed. One could only wonder how it would be possible to broach such a topic if Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had been elected as ANC president.

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The dust has not yet settled over the Constitutional Court (CC) judgment in the University of the Free State (UFS) language policy case. What is the impact of this ruling on the future of Afrikaans as language of instruction, and by implication, the future of other indigenous languages ​​in education? Are we destined for a completely English education system, with mother tongue education tossed into the trashcan of history?

Of course, one should not be alarmist or get discouraged. The CC verdict is, with respect, regrettable and could be challenged on many levels. However, there are some technical issues that could limit the impact thereof in future cases. One of these are the special circumstances at the UFS, for example, the size of the Afrikaans and English classes, which according to the UFS (and CC) would lead to unequal quality of education and would therefore be discriminatory and racist. Another set of facts could provide a different outcome.

HAROON BHORAT

FW de Klerk Foundation - Annual Conference

2nd February 2018

OUTLINE

  • Background
  • The Five Levers of a Captured State
  • State Capture in Action: The Transnet Locomotive Deal
  • Future Research

THULI MADONSELA

Address to THE FW FOUNDATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE-BEYOND STATE CAPTURE AND CORRUPTION: CAPE TOWN 02 FEBRUARY 2018

OVERVIEW

1.GREETINGS

2.GLIMMER OF HOPE IN A COUNTRY AT CROSS ROADS

3.WHO MOVED OUR CHEESE

4.LESSONS FROM THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR

5.ENCOURAGING TRENDS ON REANCHORING DEMOCRACY ON THE PEOPLE

6.WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

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Ladies and gentlemen, if I may very briefly share with you the take-away in conclusion. FW de Klerk gave me two. The one is there is nothing wrong with the Constitution. If the chefs ruin the meal, don’t blame the recipe, and Thuli made the same point. Secondly, that he is cautiously optimistic and supportive of what Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to do.

Haroon Bhorat, I think, gave a very extensive overview of the structure and the nature of state capture and corruption. I think most of us learnt a lot. Actually, I don’t like reading too much, but I would like to read the Report. State capture is systematically planned and diabolical. He showed it very clearly.

Thuli Madonsela made a few very strong points. She went as far as to say we need more than a Constitution, we need more than institutions, we need more than leadership... We need all those things, but we also need people democracy. I think that was a very, very strong point. Finally, she said that ordinary South Africans must stand up and lead. Also on this question of corruption - and someone asked me this morning what would I see as the success of the conference, and that’s exactly one the things I would have said. When we leave here as individuals, say I’m going to fight corruption, I’m going to stand up against it - but not commit it in the small things, like going over a red light or paying that R50 to the traffic cop.

Frans, a good story. I would agree with him. I’ve often said that, but I think the good story dwindledout, as he said, towards 2009. Now a new economic recovery is paramount. I think that is very, very important. Other reforms that he mentioned were economic reform, the youth’s scepticism and education.

FRANS CRONJE

Observers must watch the right markers in order to determine whether South Africa is now on a reformist trajectory. One set of markers relates to the rule of law, corruption and accountable government. These are getting the bulk of analyst attention. But the second set are even more important and relate to policy reform in areas of empowerment, the labour market, property rights, and education.

Our thesis is this; that the initial post-1994 economic recovery, born of equal measures of good fortune and some sensible policy, made possible a far greater improvement in living standards than is commonly understood. That trajectory was broken in the aftermath of the 2007 Polokwane conference and later global financial crisis. Public frustration (measured in polling and voting data) born of now unmet expectations frightened ruling party politicians who tried to counter the trend with equal measures of ideological dogma and populist policy. The response was wholly counter-productive and stalled South Africa’s post-crisis recovery, even as other emerging markets grew out of the crisis. The ensuing weak economic performance triggered a significant loss of confidence in the ruling party which in turn triggered deepening populism - and hence the slow turning of a dangerous negative spiral was set in motion. This is essentially where South Africa came to stand in November of last year.

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Twenty-two years ago elected representatives of all the people of South Africa, gathered in Parliament, sitting as a Constituent Assembly, adopted a new Constitution as the supreme law of South Africa. 

It is important for us to remind ourselves of their objectives in so-doing.  They were:

  • to heal the divisions of the past and to build a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
  • to lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
  • to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
  • to build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

Goodwill 2018

The  Board of Trustees of the FW de Klerk Foundation is awarding the 2018 FW de Klerk Goodwill Award to Gift of the Givers, whose efforts “…actively seek to build bridges between people of different cultures and religions, engendering goodwill, harmonious coexistence, tolerance and mutual respect…” 

The Board decided to present the Goodwill Award to Gift of the Givers - the largest disaster response NGO of African origin on the African continent - in recognition of their exceptional, life-changing, life-saving work. Established in 1992, the organisation today has 21 categories of projects, which cover areas such as health, education, agricultural sustainability, life skills, job creation and entrepreneurship, feeding schemes, sport and culture and winter warmth.

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