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24 October 2019

The Human Sciences Research Council,National Foundations Dialogue Initiative and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation build space for social dialogue in South Africa

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

The Human Sciences Research Council, the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation build space for social dialogue in South Africa

Pretoria, Wednesday 23 October 2019 – With a view to creating space for social dialogue in the country, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI) and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) have teamed up to host a Constitutional Dialogue that brings different institutions and groupings together to discuss key issues confronting South Africa.

Dialogue is key to building consensus around the solutions aimed at resolving national issues.  It is with this in mind that the three partners will convene a national conversation on issues which require input and buy-in from all stakeholders and citizens.

The Dialogue, scheduled for Thursday 24 October 2019 in Cape Town, will bring together the three branches of the state – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – as well as religious organisations (through the South African Council of Churches – SACC) and other civil society organisations (through Abahlali baseMjondolo).

This Dialogue will deliberate on assertiveness within the framework of the Constitution and will aim to stimulate discussion around two key issues:

•    How do the three branches of the state, religious bodies, civil society and people not affiliated to any formal grouping adopt and live by the values underpinning the Constitution while asserting their rights and recognising their responsibilities towards others? and
•    How can all who live in South Africa hold the three branches of the state and one another accountable for delivering on the fundamental rights in the Constitution?

Issues arising from the event will be taken forward into further discussions.

The media are invited as follows:

Date    :    Thursday 24 October 2019
Time    :    18h00-21h00
Venue    :    Old Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town
RSVPs / Enquiries    :    Manusha Pillai on 082 389 3587 or

Participants will include: the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Lechesa Tsenoli; retired Justice of the Constitutional Court, Edwin Cameron; General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana; Founder of Abahlahi baseMjondolo, S’bu Zikode; CEO of the HSRC, Professor Crain Soudien; CEO of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and a Director of the NFDI, Mr Max Boqwana, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Mr Stanley Henkeman, Chairman of the FW de Klerk Foundation, Mr Dave Steward; and Executive Director of Democracy, Governance & Service Delivery at the HSRC, Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller.

Professor Barney Pityana, a Director of the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative, will deliver the keynote address.

Notes to the Editor

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale,  policy-relevant, social-scientific research for  public sector users,  non- governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

About the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative
The NFDI, drawing on the negotiation experience from which South Africa’s constitutional dispensation was born, came out of extensive consultations among the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, FW de Klerk, Thabo Mbeki, Helen Suzman, Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy, Umlambo, Chief Albert Luthuli, and Jakes Gerwel Foundations.

The central aim of the NFDI, which was officially launched in April 2016 at Constitution Hill, is earnest dialogue and consensus building – the social and political diversity of the Founding Member foundations being a mirror of the country and providing a sufficiently broad basis for South Africans from different backgrounds and persuasions to forge a contract within which all can share a common citizenship as defined in the Constitution.

About the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
The IJR was instituted on 10 May 2000, devoted to furthering the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. It crafts and implements interventions according to five themes: regional reconciliation; racism, social cohesion and inclusion; restoring human dignity and bottom-up reconciliation; transitional and victim- centred justice; and socio-economic justice. The Institute’s Sustained Dialogues Programme seeks to acknowledge, confront and engage enduring legacies that continue to marginalize, wound and cause injustice, using dialogue to overcome these barriers through meaningful initiatives to foster and sustain reconciliation within and between individuals and communities.

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For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Manusha Pillai Mobile: 082 389 3587

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