Opinion

READ IN FULL: Mogoeng Mogoeng – Let us be as hopeful as Nelson Mandela was

President Nelson Mandela said, “I am not a saint,
unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” Meaning that
he too could err. None of us should therefore make a disingenuous attempt to
undermine his hitherto unmatched leadership credentials on the basis that he
erred in one way or other respect, as if he ever held himself out as a person
who is immune to committing mistakes. And none of whatever errors he might have
made can in the very least detract from the profundity of his contribution to
the essence of practical ethical and selfless leadership. I believe that
generations to come, particularly those who genuinely care about fellow human
beings will ceaselessly drink from Madiba’s well of wisdom-laden and ethical
leadership.

Let me try and explain what the lecture as I see is all
about:

Having been challenged to share some reflections, on “Constitutionalism
as an Instrument for Transformation”, I think here lies the challenge.
Once I have shared what Madiba has been saying about Constitutionalism and the
critical role that a Constitution is intended to play, just keep on asking
yourself, what is it that I am going to do here after?

When you are in the company of thieves of criminal and you
only say, ‘you know it’s not right to be a thief, criminality is wrong, but do
not focus on who the thief is, and how they go about stealing and what needs to
be done to them, they will be joining you, they will come up with profound
statements in relation to just how wrong theft and criminality is.

So, the purpose of this lecture ought to be what is wrong
with our society? How did it come about that 25 years down the line we still
have people without homes, so many people, everywhere you go, we still have
racial discrimination, ethnicity, gender discrimination, even tribalism?

How did it come about that we still have to contend with a
situation where in the high echelons of the corporate sector, because it is
rare to come across a woman, or black person, we celebrate when we find just a
handful, something is fundamentally wrong and we’ve got to confront it and come
up with practical steps to give practical expression to Constitutionalism in
South Africa.

Now I thought the best way to do justice to the topic is to
quote generously from Madiba’s own reflections on Constitutionalism as the
instrument of transformation and we begin:

On the occasion of the signing of the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa in Sharpeville, on the 10th of December 1996,
President Mandela had this to say:

(a) “As we close a chapter of exclusion and a chapter
of a heroic struggle, we reaffirm our determination to build a society of which
each of us can be proud, as South Africans, as Africans, and as citizens of the
world. As your first democratically elected President I feel honoured and
humbled by the responsibility of signing into law a text that embodies our
nation’s highest aspirations.”

So, the Constitution is an instrument for building; building
a society within which none would have a reason to be ashamed of his or her
state of affairs.

So, if you want to know what kind of a South Africa, Africa
and the global village “we the people of South Africa” desire and
plan to have, examine our Constitution.

But let me say at this early stage, very little is going to
be accomplished for as long as we allow our people to be ignorant of their
rights in the Constitution.

– You can’t fight for what you don’t know.

– You can’t fight for what you don’t touch.

– It’s almost as if we seek to take advantage of the
ignorance of our people by not doing anything.

The greatest facilitator of sustained injustice is keeping
people ignorant of what they are entitled to, that is why; that is why the
smaller version of the likes of Long walk to freedom were impermissible for an
African person, a black person to possess during the apartheid era, because it
was known once you have been enlightened by what Madiba had to say about
justice and equality, you were going to take action on a massive scale.

Now the need to know extends to constitutionalism because
knowledge is power.

Nelson Mandela went on to say:

(b) “Today we cross Let us now, drawing strength from
the unity which we have forged, together grasp the opportunities and realise
the vision enshrined in this constitution. Let us give practical recognition to
the injustices of the past, by building a future based on equality and social
justice.”

We need to be strong and united as the people of South
Africa. We never used to be united as black and white people of this country as
you know, but unity is essential for the realisation of what President Nelson
Mandela refers to as “the vision enshrined in this Constitution”.

We have to “give practical expression to the injustices
of the past”.

And anybody who says, please stop blaming it on apartheid
and colonialism is being mischievous.

What we cannot do is to blame it all on colonialism and
apartheid, but most of the problems that we have to contend with right now are
a direct consequence of colonialism and apartheid.

It is therefore absolutely necessary that we never stop
talking about colonialism and its sister neo-colonialism, and apartheid,
because then, you leave those who have always believed in this crime against
humanity to be comfortable and to shape it in a sophisticated way, in such a
way that it doesn’t quite look like discrimination, when in fact, it is.

We will be betraying the legacy of Madiba if we don’t give
practical expression to the injustices of our past and the question is what are
those injustices?

– Racism that is still alive.

– Ethnicity.

– Tribalism.

– Gender discrimination and exclusivity where it matters the
most, in the corporate sector. It’s an injustice.

– We all have the responsibility to build this country.

– We have a great country, good people.

– Let us not waste time polarising society.

– Let us not waste efforts and energy, seeing ourselves as
white and black people as if we are enemies.

– Let’s focus on principle.

– Let’s confront and expose any institution and anybody who
practices discrimination and let us look for practical steps to put an end to
these injustices.

It really is a shame that 25 years down the line, we still
have so many of our people suffering as much as they do, it is a shame that
inequality has become sharper during our constitutional democracy than during
apartheid, and check who is at the top?

Madiba went on to say on that occasion of signing our
Constitution into law:

(c) “Let us nurture our national unity by recognising,
with respect and joy, the languages, cultures and religions of South Africa in
all their diversity.”

We need unity now more than ever before.

It has got to be something that each and every one of us
worries about on a daily basis and the simplest way to start is to seek to
understand or to know more about another.

As a South African, you have got to want to know other
languages, we can’t just be learning English, you’ve got to know TshiVenda,
isiXhosa, if you are committed to building the unity that we so desperately
need and without which we will be as stagnant as we have been, or relatively
stagnant as we have been for the past 25 years; you’ve got to know the
languages, know the cultures, seek to understand the situation of your fellow
South Africans.

And we must allow, in line with what Madiba said, others to
practice their faith freely, there is an incredible intolerance for certain
faiths. It’s almost as if the Constitution doesn’t provide for them. Where
there is intolerance, there will be conflict, and where there is conflict there
is bound to be disunity, and once we are divided whatever it is that is our
enemy will take full advantage of us.

Highlighting what could be achieved through the Constitution,
Madiba also said:

(d) “Above all, let us work together in striving to
banish homeless-ness; illiteracy; hunger and disease. In all sectors of our
society – workers and employers; government and civil society; people of all
religions; teachers and students; in our cities, towns and rural areas, from
north to south and east to west – let us join hands for peace and prosperity.
In so doing we will redeem the faith which fired those whose blood drenched the
soil of Sharpeville and elsewhere in our country and beyond. Today we humbly pay
tribute to them in a special way. This is a monument to their heroism. Today,
together as South Africans from all walks of life and from virtually every
school of political thought, we reclaim the unity that the Vereeniging of nine
decades ago sought to deny. We give life to our nation’s prayer for freedom
regained and continent reborn;

“God bless South Africa;

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika;

Morena boloka sechaba sa heso;

God seën Suid-Afrika”

– The Constitution is a powerful weapon against homelessness
(section 26) of the Constitution says so, against illiteracy, (section 29) of
the Constitution says so, against hunger and disease (section 27) of the
Constitution says so.

– So, whatever business, labour, government and civil
society does, must take account of the need to get more people to enjoy these
benefits. We all must work together to accomplish this assignment.

– People died in Sharpeville and elsewhere in the country to
end these inhuman conditions. The Constitution was signed there to remind us of
these realities. The signing of our Constitution was meant to turn the
Constitution into a monument to the heroism of the people of Sharpeville and
all those who fell and suffered for our liberation struggle.

So, we must never allow ourselves to forget what many people
like Nelson Mandela endured for me to be standing here as Chief Justice, to
address a crowd like this, confident that there won’t be any teargas coming my
way.

Anybody with a functional conscience must seek to identify
his or her responsibilities as contained in our Constitution.

If you are indifferent because you occupy a position that
pays you well, if you are indifferent to the plight of the people in Diepsloot
and elsewhere in the country because you are comfortable, you live in a suburb,
know that you are a traitor; and you are a traitor of our Constitution.

– You are a traitor of Nelson Mandela.

– You are a traitor of any other person who suffered for us
to get to where we are.

– This is so because the Constitution places a
responsibility on each and every one of us, regardless of age to contribute
towards ending the injustices of our past. Sometimes I wonder, are they of our
past? And sometimes I lament why we don’t have colonialism and apartheid in our
Constitution because they would have served as a constant reminder of exactly
what it is, we mean when we say there is a need to give practical expression to
the injustices of our past.

– To the leaders of faith-based organisations, Madiba
himself said on the occasion of signing our constitution, that we have a
national prayer to say we must pray.

– The way to transform our society using the Constitution is
partly by praying:

God bless South Africa;

God Bless Africa;

God protect our people.

We should not be ashamed of praying.

We should not be made to be ashamed of prayer.

When you pray, you are not insulting Bishop Mutula – you are
making a request for your people, whether it will be granted or not is a
different story.

We need institutions to actualise assured aspirations in the
Constitution, and one of them is the judiciary.

Articulating the critical role that the judiciary has to
play in transforming our society through the Constitution, Madiba said at the
Constitutional Court in 1995:

(e) “The last time I appeared in court was to hear
whether or not I was going to be sentenced to death. Fortunately for myself and
my colleagues we were not. Today I rise not as an accused but on behalf of the
people of South Africa, to inaugurate a court South Africa has never had, a
court on which hinges the future of our democracy. It is not just our blessings
that we give to their work, confident as we are in their integrity and
commitment to justice. It is an institution that we establish – South Africa’s
first Constitutional Court.”

He went on to say: “We owe thanks to the Constitutional
Court which has proved a true and fearless custodian of our constitutional
agreements. One of the things one discovers when coming into office is that
there is no shortage of rubber stamps. South Africans did not establish this
court to be another rubber stamp. We expect you to be creative and independent.
We expect you to be true to the oath you have just sworn.”

We dare not forget that Madiba was so committed to the
fundamental human rights that are embodied in our Constitution that he was
prepared to die in the pursuit of that idea.

And the question that confronts you and I that I will come
back later to is what are you committed to?

I’m reliably informed that they took a decision that if the
death penalty were to be imposed during the Rivonia Trial, they were not going
to appeal.

What a shame, if just because of that publicity, that
criticism from one source or the other; or the risk of being fired, you become
a participant in stealing the resources that are supposed to help the poor.

What a shame to know that some of us, even if you see the
most heinous of crimes being committed, just because a criminal threatens you,
you would rather have that little girl suffer; it becomes none of your
business, you’d rather have gangsters terrorising our people just to protect
your own skin.

Out of respect for Nelson Mandela, and the Bill of Rights
that he knew of before it found space in our Constitution and his commitment to
transform society, our society – and societies the world over.

Stand up, and stand out against criminality, regardless of
who is committing it.

I think I speak on behalf of my colleagues here, I see my
colleague Cameroon is here and Sachs, when I say at no stage did the
Constitutional Court and the broader judiciary seek to protect the individual
members of the court at the expense of principle. We have stuck our necks out.
No wonder the criticism has at times been as severe as it has been against us.

– What are you doing to ensure that this Constitution works
for every South African?

– Therefore, because of the critical role that the
Constitutional Court or the judiciary in general has to play in transforming
our society through the Constitution, we owe it to this country and generations
to come to make sure that we don’t have a compromised judiciary.

– We have got to be interested, to know how people get
elected to office.

– You have got to observe carefully; you have got to watch
carefully how people are being interviewed because there are times when you can
tell certain people are being shielded from being asked critical questions; and
the question is when that happens who is doing it and what is the agenda?

– How can you have an independent and competent judge or
magistrate who when questions are sought to be put to him or her, people build
a scrum around him or her? Any competent judge or magistrate, or a candidate
aspiring to be appointed to that position must demonstrate his or her capacity
by fielding the toughest of questions. But if now people were caucusing about a
certain candidates, you must know there is an attempt to corrupt the judiciary.

You must know, there is an attempt to capture the judiciary
and a captured judiciary will never be able to use the Constitution as an
instrument of transformation, because any captured member of the judiciary will
simply be told or will know in advance, when so and so; and so and so are
involved, we better know your place.

Or when certain issues are involved, well the decision is
known in advance, so and so can’t lose. Be on the lookout, be vigilant and be
forceful in making uncomfortable anybody who seeks to establish a pliable
judiciary.

Madiba himself said, “Our constitutional democracy
hinges on the judiciary. We should guard the judiciary jealously.”

– Another way of doing so is being very critical of us when
we do wrong things.

– Madiba said, one of the things we needed to do as judges
is give reasons for our decisions that an ordinary man can understand.

– You must be worried when you read a judgment and you are
struggling to make sense of it. Judges were enjoined by Madiba and we know, and
ought to know that partly we account to our judgments to the public.

– Now, if you write in such a way that the public doesn’t
understand what you are doing; what kind of accountability is that?

– We don’t write for lawyers, we don’t account to lawyers
only, we account to every South African citizen.

– So, you must watch us carefully.

– Who do we associate with the most?

– Who are we uncomfortably or indecently friendly to and
check judgments when those people are involved?

– Does it make sense?

Madiba said, on the occasion of inaugurating the
Constitutional Court “You must be true to your oath don’t be rubber
stamps.”

– We are the ones who administer an oath to the President,
the Deputy President, Ministers, Deputies and Members of Parliament. And we do
so expecting them to be loyal to their affirmation of office.

– How hypocritical can we be if we expect people before they
take office, in line with the Constitution to commit to doing what the Constitution
demands of them when we don’t do the same thing ourselves; so please watch us
closely, otherwise our Constitution is gone.

– I am not saying there is anything wrong with the judges by
the way. No. I have absolute confidence in us, but complacency can set in; and
remember we wield extensive powers as the South African judiciary.

– I’m tempted to say I’m not aware of any judiciary in the
world that wields the kind of power that we do. There is almost nothing we
cannot do in the instrumentality of the constitution.

– Now power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts
absolutely.

Madiba said speaking to the Constitutional court judges,

(f) “Constitutionalism means that no office and no
institution can be higher than the law. The highest and the most humble in the
land all, without exception, owe allegiance to the same document, the same
principles. It does not matter whether you are black or white, male or female,
young or old; whether you speak Tswana or Afrikaans; whether you are rich or
poor or ride in a smart new car or walk barefoot; whether you wear a uniform or
are locked up in a cell. We all have certain basic rights, and those
fundamental rights are set out in the Constitution.”

– One of those basic rights is found in Section 24 of our
Constitution which guarantees us the right to an environment that is not
harmful to our wealth or well-being. A protected environment preserved for
future generations, free of pollution and ecological degradation.

– But our environment is polluted, Aljazeera conducted a
documentary and interviewed a geologist, a South African, who said I cautioned
these people about the dangers and they said it was too expensive.

– Too expensive? When human life is involved? And what did
we say, because I’m not the only one who saw it; but I think I’m speaking now
for the fourth or more time on that incident; the reason that there is no
change is that even when there is something shocking that the Constitution
demands of us to contribute towards rooting it out, we mind our own business.

– We say nothing about it.

– Who is talking about that highly toxic material? What are
we doing about it? And if nothing is done, it means others elsewhere have been
embolden to dump more and more toxic material.

– Our rivers are toxified as we speak right now. Our dams,
our oceans, who is saying what about them? In view of what just happened to
Mozambique, to India, to America as a result of the love of money, the
worshiping of money that doesn’t care about fundamental human rights?

– We should not in our criticism focus only on the failures
in government. We must criticise this government, it is ours after all; but I
think we treat other key players in our society with children’s gloves. What
have they given us? Or what did they give to shut their mouths up?

– When you speak to some of the players that are really
damaging our society or resisting change in line with the Constitution, it is
those who were previously oppressed; who will be speaking against the need to
enforce the Constitution. People celebrate their directorships and free shares
and being set up in businesses at the expense of whatever Constitution is
about.

– I am not saying that everyone who is set up in business is
a cooperator or has been set up by those who resist change; but ask yourself
the question, when fundamentally wrong things happen in our society, except in
government why are the fire brands of yesteryear quiet?

– They would never have kept quiet before they had something
to eat.

– I heard my sister Thuli Madonsela say, there is a saying
that when there is something in your mouth you can’t speak. What has been put
in their mouth to shut them up?

– We have to make it very uncomfortable for anybody who ever
claimed to care about the wellbeing of the people of South Africa to be turned
into a mouthpiece specially capacitated to resist transformation through the
Constitution, using all sorts of smart sounding words that mean nothing.

– Our fauna and flora, rhinos, elephants and so on, our
trees; much treasured trees are being ravaged with boldness. What are we doing
about it?

– Because the kind of pollution you see in India will soon
come here if you allow people that have an insatiable appetite for money in
government and in the private sector, to do as they please on the future of our
children, the Constitution forbids that conduct and it is you and I’s
responsibility to raise these issues sharply.

– I love this document and I rely on it whenever occasion
arises that I address issues that have something to do with justice, which many
don’t understand.

– You can’t talk about justice and not touch on just about
everything there is to deal with in our society.

– It’s just that when you say ecological degradation, people
say no that is politics.

It’s not politics, it’s human rights. So, we as the
judiciary should speak with clarity on these issues; that’s what Madiba said,
when he said this to Constitutional Court judges:

“I am sure that I am speaking for all of [the people] when
I say that the basic reasons for your decisions should be spelt out in a
language that all can understand.

And he said:

“The authority of government comes from the people
through the Constitution. The people speak through the Constitution.”

We should never allow any people elected or appointed by
people to discharge certain responsibilities on their behalf to load it over them.

They suddenly forget that it is to the people of South
Africa who elect and to whom the power belongs that we all must account.

We must never allow anybody to sweet talk us into accepting
anything that we don’t understand.

The people of South Africa whether educated or uneducated
are our bosses, that is why we as the judiciary of South Africa hold a session
every year now where we invite the public to come and ask us any question which
we are not prepared for, and why? They are the ones who pay us.

They are the ones who employ us.

So never make anybody who exercises state power or uses the
people’s resources in one capacity or the other think they can do as they
please with what does not belong to them; because if you do, transformative
Constitutionalism will never set in; we will stay here.

The situation will virtually be the same, another 25 years.

Madiba said:

(g) “Our constitution rests on three fundamental
pillars: Parliament, the Government, and the Constitutional Court. Each has its
specific role to play. He said, take away or undermine any, and you weaken the
whole structure. That is why your independence is guaranteed in the
constitution.”

– No Arm of the State must be undermined or treated as a
junior partner in the governance of the State. That is an unconstitutional
attitude. They are equals of the state.

Addressing Leaders in the Free State on 17 December 1994,
President Mandela said:

(h) “Freedom should not be understood to mean
leadership positions or even appointments to top positions. It must be
understood as the transformation of the lives of ordinary people in the hostels
and the ghettos; in the squatter camps; on the farms and in the mine compounds.
It means constant consultation between leaders and members of their organisation;
it demands of us to be in constant touch with the people, to understand their
needs, hopes and fears; and to work together with them to improve their
conditions.”

Transformative Constitutionalism is frustrated by as I
indicated by:

– The love for power and positions.

– We’ve got to be careful when people are prepared to do
anything for power and authority.

– You can never assassinate the character of other people,
you can never bribe, kill other people for the general good of the public. You
can’t.

– You do your bit wherever you are; and you will be
recognized if there is any good thing you are doing.

– So be watchful and expose anybody that you know who would
want to walk on the corpses of others in order to ascend to authority.

– The love for fame and money and publicity.

– If you love money, money is good – but if you love it more
than anything else, it is a matter of time before you betray the Constitution;
because if you have to choose between that which you love the most and the fundamental
human rights, it is the love of your heart that you will pursue.

– So watch for those who love fame and publicity; they will
position themselves at the expense of principle; just to get what they want.

– You must never allow a situation to arise where people are
treated as fools to be deceived and tools to be used for the advancement of
self or sections;

– Shameless disregard for the Constitutional imperatives
that could transform society is one of the issues that frustrates
Constitutionalism as a transformative tool.

– I realise that my time is almost up. Let me summarise in
the following:

Madiba said:

(Constitutional Court, 1995)

(i) “We have no doubt that the nation is committed
irreversibly to acknowledging diversity and respecting the basic rights of
everyone.

The rights and freedoms [the Constitution] proclaims are not
simply words taken from hallowed texts in other parts of the world. They
represent our endeavours, and our dreams of a free and just society.”

– Our dreams and highest aspirations are contained in the
Constitution.

– They are, among others:

Equality, non-racialism and non-sexism, the improvement of the quality of life of each citizen, freeing the business, educational, artistic, political
potential of each person.

Irreversible acknowledgement of diversity and respect for
human rights would never allow anybody to respect the Constitution selectively
and to seek to use the Constitution to undermine its potency to transform a
society

Anybody who is truly committed to Constitutionalism would
not use the Constitution to retain toxic, colonialist and apartheid tendencies
and practices under some sugar-coated pretences.

The resistance to entry by previously excluded demonstrates
lack of commitment to Constitutionalism by those who resist. Madiba said:

(j) “Those who sought their own freedom in the
domination of others were doomed in time to ignominious failure. Out of such
experience was born the understanding that there could be no LASTING PEACE, no
LASTING SECURITY, NO PROSPERITY in this land unless all enjoyed freedom and JUSTICE
as equals.”

– For as long as we don’t all do what needs to be done, as
speedy as circumstances demand, to ensure that all enjoy security, justice, we
are inviting a constitutional crisis.

– Injustice is unsustainable.

– Our society remains toxified by racism, because we have
not dealt with the first issues of colonialism and apartheid.  

– Our people have reached a level of desperation, by our
people I mean everybody who is poor; now desperate people resolve to desperate
measures and poverty is an instrument for the entrenchment of indignity.

– When you have been made to lose your dignity, anything is
possible.

– Look at the overwhelming majority of people who rape; look
at the overwhelming majority of people who commit crime

– We have kept them in a state that allows them to be just
where they are; by not giving practical expression to the injustices of the
past by using the Constitution as a tool for transformation.

– So, we need to resolve even the land issue amicably; I am
one of those who believe that we can resolve the land issue without being at
one another’s throats. We can.

– Let’s make it our business to make sure there is
employment and remuneration equity.

– We have to confront this tendency of paying black people
less than we pay white counterparts; of paying women less than men even if they
do the same job. Yesterday I was shown a huge book that Mohammed Ali gave to
Madiba and there Mohammed said:

“I’ve seen the whole world.

I learn something from people everywhere.

There’s truth in Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, all
religions.

And in just plain talking. The only religion that matters is
the real religion – love.”

– Well in case you are tempted to criticise me for being a
pastor, the bible says: “love does no harm to a neighbour, therefore love
is the fulfilment of the law”. Romans 13:10

When you love your people, you will not steal from them.

You will not kill them.

You will not be involved in corruption.

You will not use the Constitution to resist change.

We need hope and Madiba said from the discomfort of his
cell, that was on the 4th of February 1969:

(Letter from Nelson Mandela to his daughters, Zeni and
Zindzi, 4 February 1969)

“Zindzi says her heart is sore because I am not at home
and wants to know when I will come back. I do not know, my darlings, when I
will return. You will remember that in the letter I wrote in 1966, I told you
that the white Judge had said I should stay in jail for the rest of my life. It
may be long before I come back, it may be soon. Nobody knows when it will be,
not even the Judge who said I should be kept here.”

Now pay attention.

“But I am certain that one day I will be back at home
to live in happiness with you until the end of my days. Do not worry about me
now. I am happy, well and full of strength and HOPE.”

When I think about it, if Mandela who knew as a lawyer, that
in apartheid South Africa when a revolutionary is sentenced to life
imprisonment it means life imprisonment; there ought to be no hope to be freed,
could still be happy, full of strength and full of hope that one day he would
be released, why should you be hopeless?

– Why should you allow the economic situation in which we
find ourselves, to render you hopeless?

– Why should you allow the limited progress that we have
made to render you hopeless?

– Why should you allow corruption and crime to render you
hopeless when so much has already been done already, by the way?

– What reason do you have to give up?

– What reason do you have as a farmer – because I hear a lot
of farmers are killing themselves because of the drought – what reason do you
have to kill yourself?

– What reason do you have that the land issue will never be
resolved?

– That the gender-based violence will never come to an end?

– That you will never enter the economic space where it
matters the most?

– Let’s just love one another.

– Let’s keep what kept Madiba alive; that is this, this
Constitution he signed for us, to use as a transformative instrument will get
us to where we need to be.

– Let us be as hopeful as Nelson Mandela was.

– Let us love all of our people as much as he loved us, even
those who were yet to be born, to the point of giving our lives in pursuit of
justice, shared prosperity, peace and stability in South Africa.

I have no doubt that anybody who has respect for Nelson
Mandela will see today’s lecture as a moment for a new beginning, as a clarion
call to action.

A demand by none other than Madiba himself that we’ve got to
act on a daily basis to expose and root out corruption, injustice and
criminality.

We’ve got to, on a daily basis in every sphere of influence
you occupy to see it as your individual and collective responsibility to get
South Africa to this place where it has the potential to be.

Remember, he so believed in the ideals that are synonymous
to our constitution that he was prepared that if needs be that he ought to die.

May you and I who are here and anybody listening and anybody
yet to listen decide that today marks the beginning of ensuring that we honour
Madiba and others who suffered for you and I to be where we are; that we will
never be party to corruption; that we will never condone racism, ethnicity,
tribalism and gender based violence and discrimination.

We are going to ensure accountability.

We are never going to be party to exacerbating the already
existing divisions between black and white people.

We are going to be unifiers.

We are going to be reconcilers.

We are going to spend every day to ensure that the land
issue and all other outstanding issues are resolved in a manner that keeps us
united and reconciled and anybody who displays arrogance in holding onto the
visages of apartheid and colonialism we must just ostracise that person and see
him or her for who He is.

Please honour the legacy of Madiba by giving practical expression
to our constitution. May generations to come never curse you for your cowardice
and failure to do what Madiba suffered for you and I to endure.

I thank you and I apologise for being too long.

* This is the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture delivered by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on November 23, 2019.

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