Peace Centre advocacy is focused on legislative reform to (a) better protect children and (b) push back against the extraordinary levels of corruption that have characterised the last decade and contributed so significantly to our deepening poverty and inequality.
These are long term projects aimed at addressing some of the fundamental problems which, thanks to pro-bono legal effort, do not demand too much of our resources.
Legislative reform to better protect children
For most South African children, childhood is challenging and does not equip them to become well-adjusted adults able to sustain themselves and lead fulfilled lives in a just, equitable and democratic society.
Levels of violence are extraordinarily high.
To enhance the protection of society’s most vulnerable citizens, the Peace Centre:
as an amicus (Friend of the Court) against the defence of “reasonable chastisement” by a father convicted of assaulting his 13 year old son. The defence of “reasonable chastisement” is a common-law principle open to parents who assault their children in the name of discipline. A decision by the Constitutional Court is imminent and (as we hope) will remove the defence and, by default, prohibit corporal punishment of children in the home.
in the Western Cape. Legislation to this effect was promulgated in early 2019, and the Peace Centre continues to be involved in the development of regulations and the appointment of the first-ever Commissioner for Children in South Africa. Partners in this endeavour cover the full spectrum of child rights organisations working in Cape Town and include some 60 different organisations.
Investigating and prosecuting corruption
The Peace Centre with Accountability Now is working to establish an “Integrity Commission” empowered to both investigate and prosecute corruption in both the public and private spheres, as a further Chapter 9 institution according to the South African Constitution.
The Constitutional Court has already determined the STIRS criteria for such a body, which it found needed to be: Specialised, Trained, Independent, Resourced and with Security of tenure, reporting only to Parliament.
Cancellation of the BAe component of the 1999 Arms Deal
The Peace Centre with Accountability Now is working to have a major element of the 1996 Arms deal reversed. This was the earliest example of the rampant corruption plaguing South Africa.
The British Serious Economic Crimes Unit and US courts have already declared this deal to be corrupt, so it is reversible. The Peace Centre asks that the fighter planes bought from BAe be returned (almost unused) and the costs refunded to South Africa.
Corruption is, arguably, the most debilitating tax on, and an intense form of institutionalised violence against the poor. It has resulted in spectacular failures in education and health, spiralling unemployment, deepening inequality and cyclical poverty.
Addressing endemic, inter-generational poverty and unemployment
The Peace Centre is a founding member of the Social Security Coalition (SSC), a voluntary network of Civil Society Organisations including non-governmental organisations, social movements, mass based membership organisations, trade unions, faith based organisations, research organisations and independent academics who share the following goals:
- The achievement of social security rights for all South Africans.
- Improvement in the delivery systems of social security.
- Ensure that those with little or no income between the ages 18 to 59 have access to social assistance.