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CALS Quarterly Issue 13

- Lee-Anne Bruce

Read the latest issue of our quarterly newsletter and find out about our work trying to ensure justice and accountability

The last few months have provided many opportunities to reflect on what it means to for a person or institution to be held accountable. CALS and our partners at the Black Sash Trust were pleased to announce recently that former Minister Bathabile Dlamini had complied with a Constitutional Court order to pay costs awarded against her for the role she played in the social grants crisis several years ago. This has shown personal costs orders against even high ranking government officials are both attainable and enforceable. We hope that this sends a clear message that anyone responsible for corruption, failure to exercise oversight or to ensure good governance can be held personally liable.  

Yet, we are also keenly aware that the problems facing our country's social assistance programme are far from over. The pandemic continues to place already vulnerable people at risk not only of infection, but deepening poverty and hunger. What little protection they were afforded by the special COVID-19 relief of distress grants came to an end in April when pleas to extend these payments were denied. CALS and our partner organisations continue to petition for permanent, adequate income support and to speak out against the corruption and state capture that stands in the way of realising human rights. 

Revelations at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture have further demonstrated the consequences of the hollowing out of state institutions; the capture of state institutions by business; and the need for these institutions to be led by qualified, independent and capable persons. The constitutional promise of social justice will remain a mirage unless state institutions are functional, accountable, responsive and transparent.

We therefore remain committed, in all our work, to promoting the highest levels of transparency and accountability – whether that means a successful urgent application against Johannesburg Water for unlawfully disconnecting our clients, or a challenge to the secretive manner in which appointments are made to the financial sector regulator, or a review of the Mining Charter for failing to engage the very people it is meant to benefit. Click the image below to read more about these and other recent projects.