Constitutional Literacy Campaign: discussion

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


19 February 2003

Adv SP Holomisa (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Summary of Submissions (Appendix 1)
Summary of the Constitutional Literacy Campaign (Appendix 2)
Draft Committee Annual Report 2002

Members considered the summary of submissions from the public on the constitutional amendments as well as the summary of the input to the constitutional literacy campaign. The Committee proposed and approved technical amendments to those documents.

The Committee requested that invitations be sent out to the Chapter 9 institutions such as the Commission on Gender Equality and Human Rights Commission to brief the Committee on the constitutional literacy campaign and the steps they are taking to make sure the public is educated on the Constitution. The date is subject to change as this is constituency week.

The Committee postponed the adoption of the Annual Report 2002.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:
Report of Constitutional Review Committee - Submissions

132 submissions received.
1. Protection of rights affected by security related legislation
10 submissions received
It is submitted that the following rights are affected by the Firearms Control Act,
2000(Act 60 of 2000) and the Prevention of Organized Crime Amendment Act, 1999
(Act 24 of 1999):
· The right to self-defence.
· The right to keep and bear firearms.
· The right to freedom from abuse by police or government.
· The right to presumption of innocence
The writers requested that these rights should be firmly entrenched in the Constitution.

The Committee does not support the proposed amendments.

2. Private ownership of firearms
71 submissions received
The submission suggests that the right to private ownership of firearms should be
protected in the Constitution.

The Committee does not support the proposed amendments.

3. Rights of arrested, detained and accused persons
I submissions received
The submission proposes changes with regard to arrest procedures under section 35(1) of the Constitution, detention procedures under section 35(2) of an individual suspected of committing a serious crime. The submission also proposes changes with regards to the right to a fair trial under section 35(3).

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

4. Pardoning of offenders
1 submissions received
The writers view the government as disregarding the rule of law and recommendations of stakeholders, by pardoning, for political reasons, a large number of prisoners convicted of serious crimes. It is argued that those convicts pardoned by the government did not receive pardon from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The recommendation is that the government and Parliament are not above the law and should not grant such pardons.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.
5. Right to life and death penalty
3 submissions received.
The writers are concerned about the escalating levels of crime in South Africa. They
therefore call for the death penalty to be reinstated.

The Committee does not support the proposed amendments. The IFP and NNP recorded the ascension to the decision of the committee.

6. Political rights/electoral system
2 submissions received.
Electoral System - A more direct constituency-based electoral system is proposed rather than a party list system. Elected officials must be accountable to local communities to ensure the smooth running of democracy and the dispersion of decision-making processes.
National/regional referendums - Any political party, organization or individual should be entitled to request the government to hold a national/regional referendum on a certain matter if they can obtain a minimum amount of support in accordance with prescribed procedures within a specified period.
Election procedures should ensure a clear majority.

The Committee noted that the electoral system is being reviewed by the S/a bbert Commission, which has been tasked to deal with the matter and felt that consideration of the issues raised should wait for finalization of Slabbert '5 report.

7. Judicial System
1 submission received.
Changes to the Constitution are proposed to allow for the following improvements to the
operation of the judicial system: time frame for hearing of court cases, allowing the
submission of recorded testimony and submission of evidence acquired illegally.

The Committee does not support the proposed amendment.

8. Equality
2 submission received
Section 9 of the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens before the law, and that everyone has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
The submission proposes that the qualification to this right in section 9(2) of the Constitution should be removed, as equality is a fundamental right, which cannot be qualified in an open and democratic society

The Committee does not support the proposed amendments.

9. The Bill of Rights
2 submissions received.
The suggestion is that the Bill of Rights be reviewed to accommodate the interests of victims of crime.
The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

10. Inclusion of responsibilities within the Bill of Rights
1 submission received.
The submission proposes that the scope of the Bill of Rights should be extended to also
include Responsibilities, i.e. the Constitution should contain a "Bill of Rights and
Responsibilities" chapter.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

11. Traditional Authorities
2 submissions received.
The submission contends that the Interim Constitution compelled both the Provincial and the National Parliaments to refer Bills pertaining to traditional authorities, indigenous law or such traditions and customs, or any other matters having a bearing thereon, to the Provincial and the National Houses of Traditional Leaders before being passed into law.

The concern from the Traditional Leaders is that the Final Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) unfortunately does not have similar provisions as in the Interim Constitution, except to recognise the existence of Traditional leadership. As a consequence of this omission, it is submitted that this state of affairs is hampering the Houses of Traditional Leaders in making their informed inputs to Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, since they rely on newspaper advertisements, thus disabling them from presenting well researched submissions on particular subjects affecting traditional leaders due to stringent deadlines.
The submission further proposes an amendment of the Constitution to recognise traditional authorities as local government.
A related submission calls for the recognition of Khoi san as an indigenous of the nation entitled to a House of traditional Leaders.
The Committee noted that there is a draft White Paper process from the Department of Provincial and Local Government underway, which provides opportunity for debate and the eventual formulation of policy on the issues receive(L

12. Language Rights
1 submission received.
The submission proposes that the Constitution should recognise the existence or
development of Sepulana as an indigenous language.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.
The matter has, however, been referred to the Pan South African Language Board

13. Employee Rights
The complaint is about the Employment Equity Act, which is regarded as a form of an exclusion that is contrary to the word and spirit of the new Constitution. The Labour Relations Act and Bargaining Councils, extend concluded agreements to non-parties of the council.
The committee does support the proposed amendment.

14. Educational Rights
2 submissions received.
The submission suggests that schools should provide food for learners.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment..

15.Animal Rights
1 submission received.
The submission refers to the fact that there is no constitutional provision affording rights for humane treatment of animals and views it as a lacuna in the Constitution. It is suggested that this impacts on the way people view animals. It is therefore argued that legislation regulating the treatment of animals is insufficient. It is proposed that national legislation should create a realistic sustainable Act of Parliament and should provide for proposals outlined in the submission

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

16. Abolition of income tax
I submission received.
This submission proposes amendments to the Finance Section of the Constitution, for the abolition of income tax.
It requests that sections 223-225 be replaced by the proposed amendments in the submission. (page 2 of the summary document)

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

17. Submission on religion
1 submission received
It is suggested that the Constitution needs a stronger religious approach. The submission
proposed the inclusion of "Almighty God" in the Preamble of the Constitution.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

18. Revision of the Constitution
1 submission received
The following submission recommends unique revisions to the Constitution. The Constitution should be completely revised in the context of the state working towards a uniform State.

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

19. Laws to be subjected to Constitutional scrutiny
1 submission received
The submission suggests that the Constitutional Court should subject every law passed by
Parliament to scrutiny before it goes to the President for assent

The committee does not support the proposed amendment.

20. Free Access to the Constitutional Court.
1 submission received

The submission suggests that the Constitutional Court should be freely accessible to every citizen, without having to be represented by expensive legal counsel.

The committee does not SL4})port the proposed amendment.

21. Submission from the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology

The submission raises problems experienced in the arts and culture sector regarding the alignment of legislative competencies in Schedule 5 of the Constitution.
Libraries: The Schedule specifies that "Libraries other than national libraries" are an exclusive provincial legislative competence. In practice and under the interim constitution, libraries are a shared provincial/local competence.

· Museums: The Schedule specifies that "Museums other than national museums" are also an exclusive provincial competence.

· Cultural matters: Schedule 5 specifies "Provincial cultural matters". This poses problems with management of community arts centers, theatres and other cultural facilities.

The Minister suggests that these are local community services and that service delivery would be improved if there were no legal impediments to a local authority's role in these activities.
Archives: the problems arise with the fact that whereas " archives other than National Archives" are exclusive provincial legislative competence, national records need to be kept in provinces for better management and better service delivery. It is also suggested that a shared competence would be more appropriate.

A decision on the matter was deferred, as there appeared to be other routs underway to deal with the matter.

22. Interaction of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee with the public
26 submissions received.
A number of submissions suggested that there be interaction between the Joint
Constitutional Review Committee and the public. The proposed interaction could vary
from the personal hearings of evidence to Committee members visiting communities to
inform them about the preparation of submissions.

The committee noted that there is interaction in terms of inviting public submissions. The Constitutional Review Committee will determine through its programme ways of improving interaction with the public.

Appendix 2:
Annexure B: Constitutional Literacy Campaign


Inline with its mandate to provide leadership in government communications, the
Government Communication Information System assisted the Constitutional Review Committee with the development of a communication framework for a constitutional literacy campaign during May 2001. GCIS was involved in a series of discussions and also made a presentation of the Communication Strategy to the Constitutional Review Committee during May 2002.

GCIS has indicated that implementation of this campaign should be driven by the lead department viz, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. GCJS can only play a supporting role in this campaign.

Public Education Unit

The Public Education Unit responded by offering a Radio campaign, which was
highlighting the importance of the Constitution and its review to the public. The literacy campaign was flighted on 14 SABC radio stations and covered 11 languages in all
provinces. The flighting took place on Thursday 17 October and Friday 18 October 2002. It consisted of
· 60 seconds interview with the Committee Chairperson, Adv SP Holomisa
· 60 seconds docu - drama
· 45 seconds informercial
· Inclusion in PEO's 3-minute magazine programme.

Posters & pamphlets

The Public Education Unit promised to produced posters and pamphlets ihat will be distributed to all constituency offices, members, libraries, trade unions, academic institutions, provincial legislatures and GCIS offices.

Public Protector.

The office of the Public Protector indicated that they are in a process of concluding a second national awareness campaign. In this campaign workshops were conducted in all provinces. During these workshops emphasis was placed on Constitutional rights of citizens and copies of the Constitution were made available to all delegates who attended the workshop. The project aims to create awareness of the role and services that this office offers through training members of the Public service, as well as NGO's and paralegals active in rural areas. The evaluation and feedback from delegates was very positive.
The Eastern Cape Regional Office has conducted intensive campaign throughout the province covering the remote areas and following the same method used for the national campaign.

In Mpumalanga Region there was a National Constitution week called "Respect" launched, hosted by the Regional representatives in the Mpumalanga Regional Office. Copies of the Constitution were distributed to the public in this occasion.
There was also an arrangement by this office for flyers setting out role and function to be inserted into 60 000 Metrorail publications in Gauteng and 75 000 on the Western Cape, the target audience being the commuters. The office is also participating in the Constitutional Week media campaign, by advertising as well as providing editorial for the Independent Newspapers nationally.

South African Human Rights Commission

SAHRC has been involved in various activities to promote proper understanding of the Constitution especially the Bill of Rights. Some of the activities include the following:
1. The School essay Competition
This competition was established in 1997 and involves all the public schools. The purpose is to test the level of understanding of the Bill of rights among school going age children and to create awareness of the provisions in the Bill of rights through essay writing on selected human rights themes.

2. Human rights week

Every year around 21 March the SAHRC embarks on a week - long campaign involving commissioners and members of staff visiting different areas around the country to give talks and hold discussions on various human rights awareness raising and publicity of the SAHRC among the ordinary citizens of the country.

3. Human Rights Education and Training

In April 2001 SAHRC launched a National Centre for Human Rights Education and Training located at its premises. The center conducts on average 18 workshops per month on various themes and for various beneficiaries. Since it was launched it has reached 19779 people through 282 workshops, seminars and presentations. The legal service department also engages in educational work through public hearings reaching a large number of people.
Timeously Commissioners are giving talks on various human rights issues in pan~s or to individuals. The center has implemented a roving "omnibus" training intervention focusing on the outer lying areas of the country.
4. Publicity materials

Every year the Commission develops and disseminates various human rights materials at no cost to the members of the public.

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The department has established a new sub-directorate that specifically deals with constitutional education matters.

Launch of the education strategy 11 November 2002.

The Minister, Dr. Penuell Maduna has launched a Communication Framework on the Constitutional Literacy Campaign at Nelspruit in Mpumalanga in November 2002. The document will be packaged and distributed among government departments and all relevant stakeholders countrywide.

Respect project

Mpumalanga has been choosen as a pilot site for an education campaign under "respect Project" which will kick-start in January 2003.

Respect is a specific project that the Department has adopted to spearhead the constitutional literacy campaign in the country. The project concentrates on promoting the rights of women and children while giving an understanding of basic constitutional concepts and other rights.

Schools and tertiary institutions

On an ongoing basis, schools and tertiary institutions in the country are being visited to educate pupils on their constitution Booklets such as "children's rights are cool" have been developed. On Human Rights Day the Department has launched a Children' 5 rights book.
Consultations with all universities and technikons in the country took place between August and October 2002 where an exchange of information took place a commitment was secured to infuse constitutional education into a formal programme of institutions.

Constitution week 21-26 October 2002

The Department, together with GCIS sensitized government in respect of the start of the start of the Constitution week 21 - 26 October 2002. Printed material on maintenance and children's rights has been distributed to all the courts and other institutions.
Independent Newspapers supplement

The Department together with other stakeholders produced a supplement focusing on the constitution to be published in national newspapers.

Radio programmes

The Department has secured slots on various community radio stations and SABC regional stations educating the public on the constitution.

Constitution and the worker

Consultations with various trade unions took place between August and October 2002. The Department has developed and distributed among workers a new poster in this regard.

Printing the Constitution books

The first print run of the constitutional pocket size books (450 000) was done early in 2002 and distributed countrywide to members of the public, government departments and other stakeholders.

The department is in a verge to place the constitution on the website in all official languages.

The next print run will take place during the new financial year.


The Department has developed and printed a simplified version of the constitution called Mulayotewa. 20 000 copies were produced and distributed to the public.

Other projects:
1. There is a tender to educate government officials on the constitution underway.
2. Tender to hold workshops on the constitution with local and provincial government separately will be realized in the new financial year.
3. A Tender to educate all key political leaders on the constitution starting with local government, councilors, mayors, MEC's and other key leaders at National level will be released during the new financial year.
4. Arrangements and plans with the Department of education to include Constitutional Education in the syllabus for grades 1 to 6 on an incremental basis are underway.
5. The development of learning material for schools curricula for grades 1 - 6.


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