Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
23 Oct 2019
11:41 am

It’s ‘ironic’ that our constitution is ‘hailed’ globally ‘for its progressive outlook’ – Mkhwebane

Citizen Reporter

'Poverty continues to wear a black face and black people remain largely excluded from economic activity,' the public protector says.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane addressing the Social Justice conference at the University of Zululand in Mtubatuba, 23 October 2019. Picture: Twitter (@PublicProtector)

Addressing the Social Justice conference at the University of Zululand in Mtubatuba on Wednesday morning, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said it was an “irony” that we “have a constitution that is hailed all over the world for its progressive outlook,” as “the status quo in 1994” has been maintained the “playing fields” have not been “levelled”.

“Everyone has had something to say about the unemployment that is steadily spiralling out of control, the poverty that continues to take root in our society, and participation in the economy,” Mkhwebane said.

“I am certain you will agree with me that these issues go to the heart of social justice, which some define as equal access to things such as quality education, quality healthcare, property, justice and economic opportunities, among other things.

“The democratic dispensation has done a lot to reverse the imbalances of the past and undoing the legacy of apartheid is not an overnight job, it is also true that 25 years into democracy, many people remain left behind when it comes to access to basic necessities.

“The undisputed fact is that the black majority are the hardest hit.

“They are by far the most landless, they remain on the wrong side of the inequality divide, they are the most jobless, poverty continues to wear a black face and black people remain largely excluded from economic activity.

READ MORE: Mkhwebane fires one, suspends four of her senior staff

“This could mean that we have maintained what was the status quo in 1994 more than we have levelled the playing field between the privileged and the disenfranchised.

“When we closed the door on apartheid South Africa, we resolved to roll back the frontiers of the oppression of the black majority by their white counterparts in a material way.

“This was worked into the Interim Constitution of 1993, into the Constitutional Principles which the Constitutional Assembly had to ensure that they inform the final Constitution and into the laws we have enacted since 1994.”

Mkhwebane added that due to this failure to end the oppression of the black majority, the esteem with which our constitution was held was ironic.

“The irony of all this is that we have a Constitution that is hailed all over the world for its progressive outlook,” she said.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)

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