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  13 May 2016 Issue 170 - The Intent of the Founders





The Intent of the Founders


Democracy has been driven from its inception by the idea of empowering the people to run their own lives and shape their future. In whatever form it takes, democracy is not a cure-all for the conflicts of interests and contradictions that are manifest in a society.
What it does is to provide a platform that enables these conflicts to be mediated, be it temporarily or otherwise. Perhaps a simpler analogy would be to describe it as laying out a playing field with all its markings and elaborating the rules in terms of which the mediation takes place.
The concept of representative government elected by the people, while advancing the notion of democracy, bears with it several implications.
By placing political power into a small group of elected persons it creates the space for the abuse of state power and the need for mechanisms of accountability. Another consequence is that increasing numbers of citizens feel marginalised, alienated and taken for granted. While all these tendencies are manifest in almost all democratic systems in the world today, at present most of the emphasis falls on issues of abuse of power and accountability.
This emphasis is correctly founded not in some theory but our actual experience of the last two decades.
However, almost by default, it is assumed that minimizing abuse of power and enhancing accountability attends to the matter of alienation.
This is a problematic assumption. The current US and the Philippines elections and the destructive tendencies present in some of the protests, or what questionably is described as protests, in our country provide us with an insight into the extent of this alienation and some regressive consequences that may arise.
I make these points, because, though I have been privileged to be part of the making of our constitution of which I am inordinately proud, I recognise that democracy is an evolving concept and because almost all democratic systems in the world are today under stress.

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South African Diplomat Conferred Adjunct Professorship in Fujian China

The Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) conferred Dr Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General for Asia and the Middle East with an Adjunct Professorship. The Professorship has been conferred by the Faculty of Law and Humanities. FAFU was founded in 1938 as a Public University and is today ranked amongst the leading Universities in China, with a student population of over 30, 000, comprising of eight faculties.

Photo: Dr Sooklal is pictured with Prof Lan Siren, President of FAFU

Dr Sooklal has had a long standing association with China spanning over 30 years. This relationship has included both his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Chinese history, culture and philosophy, which continued through his Academic tenure at the University of South Africa and Durban Westville (Kwa Zulu Natal) which focused on Oriental Studies. Since joining Government the major part of Dr Sooklal’s responsibilities have been focused on Asia and the Middle East including overseeing relations with China.

Rainbow Concert

ENTRANCE IS FREE, but booking is essential.  To secure your place at the event, you must book online at
The Diplomatic Corps in Pretoria is organising a charity concert on Saturday 28th of May, 2016.
The goal of the concert is to support young musicians from townships around Johannesburg and Pretoria to acquire musical instruments so that – after the finalization of their studies – they can start to earn a living by teaching music or performing at concerts and other public and private events.
The different music schools in the townships (beneficiaries) shall be supplied with musical instruments that can be handed out on loan (free of charge) to these musicians who have completed their studies and had to return their instruments (e.g. to the UNISA Music Foundation). The instruments are meant as a start up and have to be returned to the music school they come from as soon as the young musician has earned enough money from his/her trade to buy an instrument himself/herself.
The Concert costs have been covered by sponsors. Also corporate sponsors have provided generous donations to acquire a number of instruments for the township music schools. Individual donations also will be accepted at the entrance door of the Concert hall. Please note that all donations will be used in their entirety to purchase instruments for the beneficiary township music schools.

The concert will take place on Saturday 28th of May, 2016 at 3pm at the Ennoch Sontonga Hall, UNISA Sunnyside Campus, (c/o Steve Biko and Justice Mahomed Street, Pretoria).


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