THE WARRIOR PROJECT
For some time we’ve been acutely aware that although Caveat works to make quality legal services more accessible to business, it doesn’t service private individuals and as such doesn’t help some of the most vulnerable groups of people have better access to the law.
On our research, domestic violence and abuse affects two out of five people. Although there are a number of resources available to assist victims of domestic abuse, the lack of education on the topic is one of the greatest barriers to help that victims face. We realise that the problem is a massive one which will take a multi-faceted approach to effect proper social change, but we know that change is possible, and we know that we need to start somewhere.
Caveat is working with SweepSouth (which has a network of 95,000 domestic workers) to start addressing this endemic problem. We are developing a web-app to educate people about abuse and their rights, and provide a composite directory of existing resources available to assist them.
As people who live and breathe the values enshrined in our Constitution, we have had a growing awareness that its robustness – and consequently the resilience of our government – depends mostly on the extent to which organs of state are held accountable.
In the wake of the recent seminal ‘Nkandla’ and ‘Corruption Watch’ judgments, it is clear that Integrity Institutions, such as the Public Protector and NPA respectively, themselves exercise vital public powers in our contemporary system of governance and serve as key ‘checks’ in addressing abuses of power. They too need to be ‘checked’ in an appropriate manner. These bodies do not fall within our existing threefold division of state authority between legislature, executive and judiciary (as elucidated by our courts as an implied component of our constitutional architecture).
There is an urgent need to present compelling argument (and consequent mobilisation) for the formal recognition of an Integrity Branch of State (housing the likes of the Public Protector & other Chapter 9 Institutions; the NPA; the JSC etc.) and constitutional amendment to this effect and, further, to ensure the separation of powers doctrine is explicitly entrenched in our Constitution (given the dangers attendant on its non-mention and the unpredictability of the SA socio-political space).
Caveat Constitutional and Administrative Law specialist, Lauren Kohn, will be addressing this topic in her PhD through Leiden University, with the support of Caveat.