Willie Hofmeyr's insights into 1980s ANC debate for individual rights

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr talks to Karima Brown (standing in for Redi Tlhabi) on the Afternoon Drive to talk about the path South Africa has travelled to the constitutional democracy we now have.

A lawyer by training, Hofmeyr has been a long time activist involved in the struggle to end apartheid and was intimately involved in crafting the Constitution.

He explained the important focus during the negotiations and the discussions for the creation of the Constitution.

I think the Bill of Rights was really one of the key issues in the Constitution.

Willie Hofmeyr, activist and now Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

It became very important for the ANC, in the context where the national party really wanted group rights entrenched in the Constitution, and the importance of the bill of rights debate was to persuade National Party and pressure them in the negotiations to see that all rights would be protected.

Willie Hofmeyr, activist and now Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

He says it was important to have them see that there was no need to entrench group rights with the entrenchment of all sorts of privilege and other things that would go with it.

But, he says, it was also a debate within the ANC itself where individual rights were not always historically seen as a priority.

Hofmeyr says it was OR Tambo who asked that the ANC begin drafting a Bill of Rights for the organisation.

In fact, a charter of rights goes back well over a century, says Hofmeyr, so it had been a long debate over the importance of protecting the rights of the individual.

I think there was some skepticism still in the 70s and 80s about whether individual rights would entrench racial privilege, even group rights in a sense.

Willie Hofmeyr, activist and now Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

He explains that at the time it was far more accepted within the country as progressive academics such as Halton Cheadle and Dennis Davis were writing about the strong case for a bill of rights.

He also explains the important focus on socio-economic rights and this distinguished the South African Constitution as a groundbreaking document.

Take a listen:

Read More
10 business tips to boost you through a tough economy

10 business tips to boost you through a tough economy

Business growth specialist, Pavlo Phitidi tracks down previously profiled businesses and advises them on their next level growth.

Zuma lashes out at 101 ANC stalwarts in policy conference opening salvo

Zuma lashes out at 101 ANC stalwarts in policy conference opening salvo

President Zuma went 'off script' on Friday when he castigated his detractors saying many denied being on the 101 stalwarts list.

Explore the magic of Madeira at the Caravela Portuguese Festival

Explore the magic of Madeira at the Caravela Portuguese Festival

This weekend, all roads lead to the magical Madeira Day festivities at Montecasino.

"Whackhead" Simpson's song about Carl Niehaus was one of Redi's faves

"Whackhead" Simpson's song about Carl Niehaus was one of Redi's faves

In 2009 Carl Niehaus was forced to step down as ANC national spokesperson after fraud allegations surfaced.

"Our interpretation of sleeping around is sleeping around"

"Our interpretation of sleeping around is sleeping around"

A throwback to Floyd Shivambu talking about Helen Zille during his ANCYL days, interrogated by Redi Tlhabi in 2009. #FarewellRedi

Mr. Tlhabi bids Mrs Tlhabi farewell on her last radio show #FarewellRedi

Mr. Tlhabi bids Mrs Tlhabi farewell on her last radio show #FarewellRedi

Brian Tlhabi says his wife, Redi Tlhabi makes him super happy and continues to wish her the best with her future endeavours.

Popular articles
Struggles interracial couples still face

Struggles interracial couples still face

The Open Line took an unexpected turn when a caller in an interracial relationship shared how her father rejected her partner.

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Makhabane says Ncwane was feeling weak yesterday and his wife phoned paramedics to check on him.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?