Constitutionalism in South Africa

SGS Consulting was appointed as Coordinator and administrator of the Constitutionalism Fund (CF) in 2015. The Joint Fund was set up to promote and advance Constitutionalism in South Africa. The Fund is a collaboration between The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation and The Open Society Foundation, with a combined investment of US$25 million over a ten to twelve-year period.

The Constitutionalism Fund supports constitutional programs in South Africa that promote human rights awareness and access to rights through activities utilizing a rights-based approach and that target the most vulnerable and marginalised. Promoting and advancing constitutionalism may involve multiple strategies from training to research, campaigns, protests, dialogues, negotiations and litigation. It requires investing in and building the capabilities of individuals and grassroots-based structures (community advice offices, networks and social movements) to take action and support others to claim and realise their rights. It requires building the capabilities of our judges, lawyers, attorneys and paralegals, while also building the capacity of community-based groups to understand and use the law and constitution. A second goal of the fund is to support the transformation of civil society in South Africa, recognizing that the legacy of apartheid and colonial South Africa has left in its wake an unequal society divided by race and class in which racism, sexism, patriarchy and xenophobia continue to thrive.

The fund promotes robust, transparent and frank conversations about the structural divides in South Africa that continue to hamper transformation. The sustainability of civil society organisations and social movements in our country continues to be at risk and the fund aims to build capacity and resilience of civil society to withstand inevitable changes in leadership and decline in funding. Civil society organisations play an important role in building a capable state in which civil servants are educated about their responsibilities in terms of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, as well as the private sector, so as to strengthen the rule of law and democracy. The CF website is: www.constitutionalismfund.co.za.

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