As part of this year’s celebration of Freedom Day and as the 2021 local government elections approach, Daily Sun is hosting a webinar about how we all protect that hard won freedom.
Often we take our daily freedoms for granted, but many of them are only possible because we live in a democratic state.
Democracy is not a lofty ideal, it is in the lived experience of each of us, each day. Safeguarding democracy is not an event, it is a process – an ongoing one that requires vigilance and commitment from us all.
Mondli Makhanya, editor-in-chief of City Press, will facilitate a discussion between Justice Albie Sachs, retired Constitutional Court judge; Professor Thuli Madonsela, law faculty trust chair in social justice, Stellenbosch University and Thuma Foundation Founder; current president of the South African Principals Association, Thomas Hlongwane; and Dr Nomsa Masuku, deputy chief electoral officer responsible for outreach at the Independent Electoral Commission.
The webinar is supported by the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa.
Professor Thuli Madonsela:
Professor Thuli Madonsela, an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, is the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law.
She is the founder of the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy public benefit organisation and convener of the Social Justice M-Plan. Madonsela was the Public Protector of South Africa from 2009 to 2016.
She is credited with transforming the institution by enhancing its effectiveness in promoting good governance and integrity – including ethical governance and anticorruption in state affairs – through her reports and jurisprudence on the powers of the Public Protector.
Thomas “Tim” Hlongwane is the principal of Pretoria Central High School in Pretoria West.
He has been the Principal for 11 years after coming up through the ranks as a teacher, head of department, deputy principal as well as a time as assistant director for policy at the Gauteng Department of Education, Head Office.
He is also the current president of the South African Principals Association (SAPA) in Gauteng, an office he has held since October 2019. Hlongwane represents SAPA Gauteng in the National Consultative Forum, which meets with the minister of basic education when dealing with reopening of schools during Covid 19.
He holds a Bachelor of Education Honours from Wits University and a Master's degree in Educational Policy from the University of Bristol, UK (obtained through the Nelson Mandela Scholarship).
Dr Nomsa Masuku:
Dr Nomsa Masuku is an academic currently appointed as one of five commissioners of the Electoral Commission.
She has served in several positions in the administration side of the Electoral Commission, culminating in the role of deputy chief electoral officer responsible for outreach.
She previously headed Standard Bank’s corporate social investment unit.
Before joining Standard Bank, Dr Masuku spent eight years working for the Electoral Commission of South Africa, where her portfolio included the strategic development of programmes that assisted the Commission in contributing to the entrenchment of constitutional democracy – including overseeing the provision and promotion of civic, balloting and voter education.
Justice Albie Sachs:
Albie Sachs is an activist and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1994 – 2009).
He began practising as an advocate at the Cape Bar at the age of 21, defending people charged under the racial statutes and security laws of apartheid.
After being arrested and placed in solitary confinement for over five months, Sachs went into exile in England, where he completed a PhD from Sussex University.
In 1988, he lost his right arm and his sight in one eye when a bomb was placed in his car in Maputo, Mozambique.
After the bombing, he devoted himself to the preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa.
When he returned home from exile, he served as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the African National Congress.
He is the author of several books, including The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter, The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law and We, the People: Insights of an activist judge. His latest book is Oliver Tambo’s Dream.
Mondli Makhanya, facilitator:
Mondli Makhanya is currently the editor-in-chief of City Press.
A journalist of more than three decades, Makhanya was previously editor of the Mail&Guardian and the Sunday Times; Editor-in-Chief of the Times Media Group; Associate Editor of Sunday World and Executive Editor of the Star.
Makhanya is a previous chairperson of the SA National Editor Forum and has sat on the boards of non-profit organisations in South Africa and abroad.
He is an influential social and political commentator who has featured in local and international publications and broadcast outlets.