Thuli Madonsela launches digital platform for social justice
Former public protector Prof Thuli Madonsela has launched an "action-oriented digital platform" for social justice.
Madonsela, currently the Law Trust chair in Social Justice in the faculty of law at Stellenbosch University, held the first online conversation last week, which was attended by 76 people.
Among the guest speakers was law professor Sandra Fredman from the University of Oxford and Dr Pali Lehohla, SA's former statistician-general. The digital event assessed the impact of Covid-19 and policy responses to it from a social justice perspective, focusing on poverty, inequality and mental health.
Stellebosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said speakers conceded that in combating the rapid spread of Covid-19, government could not avoid restrictive regulations with adverse consequences or sacrifices.
“The aim of the digital platform is to create a permanent think-tank that will deal with all social justice-related issues in the advancement of substantive equality and in combatting poverty in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the constitutional duty to anchor our democracy in social justice and Agenda 2063,” said Viljoen.
Madonsela hailed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“We must thank President Ramaphosa and everyone in government for putting us back on the pedestal of hope. Crisis has a way of tearing people apart, but it also has a way of uniting people - and whether you get united or torn apart depends on leadership,” she said.
“The coronavirus has put us on heightened grounds. Our environment has become volatile, uncertain and ambivalent.
“As we try to respond to this virus, we should anchor everything that we do in the constitutional right to equality - read with section 7(2), which subjects this country to the establishment of a society based on democratic values and social justice.”
The platform identified several effects that the pandemic has on citizens. These include mental health, digital/distance education and food security.
“All was in agreement that smaller think-tanks surrounding these areas are needed, so as to identify the gaps in regulatory policies that have been issued to date on Covid-19,” added Viljoen.
The round-table is expected to reconvene during the week of April 20.