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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.

ARTICLE: SASSA SKIMMING THE POOR

SASSAIn a series of barefaced lies, misinformation and distortions, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is yet again seeking refuge behind almost 17 million poor people, to cover up its inaction and connivance in giving effect to a Constitutional Court judgment rendering its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) invalid and illegal. In four weeks the Court’s grace period of 36 months for SASSA to get its house in order will come and go, and still we wait.

For most of the 17 million grant beneficiaries - and to the taxpayer - the elaborate but empty PowerPoint presentation made to the Portfolio Committee on Social Services in February 2017 is worthless, particularly when neither Minister Bathabile Dlamini nor the CEO of the agency, Thokozani Magwaza, bothered to show up at the meeting. The disregard for the poor is matched by the absence of accountability to the Legislature too.

REMARKS BY FW DE KLERK AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2017 FW DE KLERK GOODWILL AWARD

Goodwill 2017It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all here this evening - and especially our guests of honour and recipients of the 2017 FW de Klerk Goodwill Award, Wayde van Niekerk and Ans Botha.

The Board of Trustees of the FW de Klerk Foundation established the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award in 2010 to give recognition to individuals and organisations that have made exceptional contributions to the promotion of goodwill between South Africans. Past winners include Dr Danny Jordaan (2011), Pieter-Dirk Uys (2012), Studietrust (2013), Patrice Motsepe (2014), Afrika Tikkun (2015) and Adv Thuli Madonsela and the Office of the Public Protector (2016).

The Board of Trustees of the FW de Klerk Foundation decided at its last meeting in 2016 to award the 2017 FW de Klerk Goodwill Award to the coach and athlete team of Mrs Anna (Ans) Botha, and Mr Wayde van Niekerk.

STATEMENT: PROPERTY RIGHTS AND LAND REFORM IN THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

parliament smlThe FW de Klerk Foundation, through its Centres for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) and Unity in Diversity (CUD) decided to make property and land a focus for 2017 - in addition to a number of other constitutional issues. Hence this analysis of these two important themes as per the recent SONA, and its subsequent discussion in Parliament.

It is important to state at the outset that the FW de Klerk Foundation believes in the need for proper land reform and the extension of property rights to all South Africans, in line with the prescripts of section 25 of the Constitution. However, in the absence of facts on who owns what and who the real beneficiaries will be, as well government’s poor track record in this sphere, we cannot but be very sceptical about the latest government policy of radical economic transformation.

ARTICLE: SASSA SHOWDOWN LOOMING OVER HEARTS AND POCKETS OF THE POOR

SABreakingnewsSASSA optMinister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, has through word and inaction, demonstrated her clear disregard of the Constitutional Court ruling declaring the SASSA contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) invalid. She has further heaped scorn on the advice of the Minister of Finance in his 1 February 2017 letter to her offering remedial recourse to ensure that almost 17 million people receive their social security grants come 1 April 2017.

The haughty response from the Minister of Social Development to Treasury, dated 8 February, states that, “her Department was in charge of payments of grants and that interactions with Treasury as part of a joint technical team were not to map out the future of social grants, but to merely analyse available options”. By all accounts and simple comprehension of the said letter from Treasury, this was precisely what was being proposed. In addition, Treasury, as the ultimate steward of the resources of the country, added the caution that maintaining the status quo would open government to legal action. This hefty matter appears to be lost on the Minister. 

ARTICLE: SASSA - ARE THE POOR THE FOOLS?

SASSAFor the poorest South Africans, 1 April 2017 may indeed be April Fool’s Day as they return empty-handed from SASSA collection points, when the contract of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), distributors of social grants on behalf of SASSA, comes to an end on 31 March.   

For more than 16 million beneficiaries, the next few weeks remain uncertain and deeply worrying. For people dependent on the Child Support Grant (R350 pm), the Grant for Older Persons (R1510 pm), the Disability Grant (R1510 pm), the Grant-in-aid (R350 pm), the Care Dependency Grant (R1510 pm), the War Veteran’s Grant (R1530 pm), the Foster Care Grant (R890 pm) and the Social Relief of Distress Grant, the unmitigated mess created by the incompetence and leaderless SASSA may be a case of life or death. Government’s R10 billion a month spend on the poorest of the poor is in serious jeopardy. 

STATEMENT: SUBMISSION TO THE SAHRC ON RACISM AND SOCIAL MEDIA

SAHRC logo optThe FW de Klerk Foundation has responded in the affirmative to a call for submissions by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Racism and Social Media in South Africa, with hearings scheduled for 15 and 16 February 2017.

The largely positive relations between people are disrupted by jarring and painful incidents that have the prospect, through the ease of use of social media to go viral and stir up deep emotions - as has been evident more recently. The Foundation is not contesting the use of social media in its submission, it is the use of racist and abusive terminology to describe other people that is at the core of the argument. Such incidents clearly set the agenda back significantly and have the effect of polarising people.

SUBMISSION TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - NATIONAL HEARING ON RACISM AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN SOUTH AFRICA - NATIONAL HEARING ON RACISM AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN SA

CONCOURT FOTER optThe FW de Klerk Foundation is honoured to have been requested by the SAHRC to make a submission on Racism and Social Media in South Africa. This written submission could be expanded upon at the national hearings scheduled for 15 and 16 February 2017.     

  1. Introduction

The National Hearing on Racism and Social Media in South Africa is an important forum for discussion in contemporary South Africa and accords with the Foundation’s own mission to support and promote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as foundational and sacred elements of our democracy. The constitutional imperative enshrined in the Preamble and captured in the Bill of Rights promoting unity in diversity is richly captured in the mission of the Foundation and forms the rationale for the establishment of the Foundation’s new Centre for Unity in Diversity.

STATEMENT: SUBMISSION ON THE HATE CRIMES AND HATE SPEECH BILL - RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER ATTACK

Justice logoOn 31 January 2017, the FW de Klerk Foundation, together with other advocates of freedom of expression, made a written submission to the Department of Justice on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill). The Foundation used the opportunity to highlight that bolstering, consolidating and empowering existing laws and institutions is a sounder starting point than promulgating new laws with harsh consequences.

In brief, the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill aims to criminalise the offences of hate speech and hate crimes. In terms of this proposed Bill, it is possible for a person to be imprisoned for three years following their first conviction for the offence of hate speech, with ten years imprisonment for subsequent offences.

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