The fundamental redistributive and transformative character of the Constitution — and how politicians, policymakers and legislators have ignored this — was a key thread at the Social Justice Summit and preceding international conference on economic equality and the rule of law hosted by Stellenbosch University Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, Thuli Madonsela.
“As constitutionalists, we are increasingly unable to explain away the crisis of constitutionalism,” argued Ngcukaitobi on Tuesday in relation to Section 25 of the Constitution — the property clause that was supposed to have changed property relations in democratic South Africa.
“It hasn’t, and now Section 25, and the Constitution as a whole, have become the political target of people disgruntled with the lack of change.”
It would be easy in this climate to abandon constitutionalism, but instead, the Constitution must be leveraged to end the inequality embedded in the economy.
“We need to take seriously the redistributive dimension of the Constitution… We need to claim the Constitution not as a liberal document, but a liberating one,” said Ngcukaitobi.