Constitutional truths brought home to KZN learners
The South African Constitution is not an end it itself and is not intended on its own to create a more – or less – just society; instead it provides every South African some of the tools they can utilise to fight for the achievement of social justice.
This was the message Pierre de Vos, from UCT’s Department of Public Law, delivered recently to 250 learners at St Anne’s Diocesan College, a school situated in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. De Vos’s talk formed part of the school’s Awareness Week, which was organised by matric pupils from the school.
According to Funmi Afolayan, one of the organisers, Awareness Week is an attempt to “stop the prejudices that I see around me”. Learners raised the funds and arranged the programme on their own.
In his talk De Vos related the way in which the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) used a provision of the Constitution, guaranteeing the right of access to healthcare, to fight for the right of HIV positive people to receive antiretroviral drugs. He said the TAC was successful because it did not only rely on the court, but also mobilised tens of thousands of people to support its cause. This led to a change in government policy even before the Constitutional Court ruled in the TAC’s favour.