South Africa’s future freedom, unity, stability, prosperity and international standing will depend directly on the degree to which our government and society continue to honour the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
The Constitution is the embodiment of a national accord that was reached between 1990 and 1996 by parties representing majorities from all South Africa’s communities in which they succeeded in bridging centuries of division, discrimination and injustice and established a foundation for lasting unity, justice, prosperity and democracy.
F W de Klerk was one of the leading participants in the process that led to the adoption of the 1996 Constitution. He believes that he has a residual responsibility to stand by the agreements that were negotiated at that time. Accordingly, one of the primary objectives of the F W de Klerk Foundation is to uphold the Constitution. To this end, in 2006, it established the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR).
- to promote the values, rights and principles in [the Constitution];
- to monitor developments, including draft legislation, that might affect the Constitution;
- to inform people and organizations of their constitutional rights; and
- to assist people and organizations to claim their rights.
- The CFCR has no party political affiliation and will promote the full spectrum of rights, values and principles in the Constitution.
- The CFCR supports provisions in the Constitution that promote equality of people who were previously disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. It accepts the need for balanced affirmative action and land reform. However, it will try to ensure that such policies are implemented in a balanced manner consistent with the promotion of all the other constitutional rights.
- The CFCR adopts a consensus-seeking, non-confrontational style and will attempt wherever possible to achieve its goals through discussion and persuasion.
- Promoting the Constitution through participating in the national debate; publications, newsletters, conferences, articles and the CFCR website; and producing and disseminating legal opinions.
- Interacting with government, Parliament and interested groups with a view to upholding constitutional rights and values, including proposals to parliamentary portfolio and select committees regarding draft legislation.
- Monitoring developments that might affect the Constitution by following and analysing political initiatives, the deliberations of Parliament and the decisions of the Constitutional Court and other courts.
- Informing South Africans of their constitutional rights and how to claim them by means of publications and the CFCR’s website.
- Assisting South Africans to claim their constitutional rights by providing constitutional advice and, where necessary, through constitutional litigation.
- The Centre operates as a unit of the FW de Klerk Foundation and reports to the Foundation’s Board through the Executive Director Mr Dave Steward. For more information on the Foundation, visit its website at www.fwdklerk.org.za .
- The Centre makes use of the administrative infrastructure, offices and other infrastructure of the FW de Klerk Foundation.
- The Director is Adv Nichola de Havilland and a small staff.
- The Centre makes maximum use of pro bono legal assistance.
The Centre’s operations are funded by private, public and corporate donations.
- The CFCR is assisted by a Panel of Experts comprising jurists, senior counsel with constitutional experience, and professors of constitutional law.