Justice

Justice

One of the key functions of civil government is to protect society. This is a function that the present government has not fulfilled.

Levels of crime are at their highest. This has given rise to a state of virtual anarchy with human life losing value daily, as men, women and children are killed for a couple of Rand or an item of jewelery.

The state, bearing the traditional sword of justice, must protect all of its citizens demonstrating that crime does not pay.

Basic human rights such as the right not to be tortured to obtain information, the right to a fair and speedy trial; to be properly informed of all charges; to be prepared for trial and to be legally represented are afforded to all citizens.

Criminal elements however, should fear the wrath of society as demonstrated by the state, as this is the most effective way to combat crime.

Accessibility

Although our legal system is based on principles of good common sense, our courts remain largely inaccessible, due to their relative sophistication.

The ACDP is in agreement with and will promote recent strides toward making the legal system more understandable and therefore more accessible to ordinary people. Equality before the law is a prerequisite for a just society, however, in practice people are still discriminated against due to a personal lack of education and sophistication. The ACDP is committed to addressing this by re-examining structures that are limiting accessibility to justice and recourse to the law by the majority of South African citizens.

Some of the areas that will be considered are the following:

  • The monopoly of the Law Society, which dictates fees and limits admission to the profession, will be examined, as it results in justice and recourse to the law being inaccessible for the majority of South African citizens.
  • Graduates must be able to satisfy the requirements for becoming attorneys through other relevant experience, as an alternative to articles.
  • Other positions requiring legal qualifications, especially that of public prosecutor, must be elevated to worthwhile career options with regard to conditions of service, working conditions, salaries and career opportunities.
  • Judges are currently chosen from the ranks of senior advocates, and magistrates are chosen from the ranks of senior public prosecutors. The ACDP believes that judges should also be appointed from the ranks of experienced magistrates.
  • Management plans to simplify court calendars and procedures.
  • Diversification of languages in printed material.
  • Education programs.

The ACDP is in agreement with the independent nature of the judiciary and does not advocate a jury system. However, in addition to the hierarchy of courts and the Constitutional Court, we believe a system of peer review should be established in the interest of justice, fairness and equity.

At its core, the justice system must be made accessible by having an adjudicating official presiding over everyday disputes.

Administrative justice

The ACDP recognizes that the traumatic history of non-transparency has to be addressed in the process of transformation of South African society.

The rules of natural law, which form the cornerstone of administrative justice, originated from sound biblical teaching and we support its retention as it is foundational to an ethic that exposes unfair and dishonest practices.

Detained, arrested, and accused persons

The ACDP believes it is wrong to give the impression that a criminal occupies a more favourable position, even constitutionally, than his victim.

Individual responsibility for action needs to be stressed. Any system that removes a sense of personal accountability and guilt from the criminal is bound to fail.

We oppose the situation where prisoners receive better food, medical treatment or other privileges, which are denied law-abiding citizens.

In Leviticus 24:12 the nearest approximation of a prison is cited as a temporary holding where subjects are awaiting a swift and sure trial and punishment.

Long term imprisonment escalates problems of overcrowding, prison violence, professional criminal training, the spread of AIDS and STDs.

The ACDP will seriously look at the feasibility of privatizing minimum-security prisons.

The ACDP strongly supports the introduction of capital punishment for certain violent crimes (Numbers 35:30-33, Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:3, Leviticus 24: 17 -22, Matthew 5:17, Romans 13 and Revelation 13:10).

We believe that crime will only be effectively controlled to the point of eradication once criminals face severe sanctions for the violent and criminal behaviour.

We disagree with the belief that criminals should have the same rights of law-abiding citizens. For example, criminals should not have the right to vote until they have paid their debt to society.

Sentencing must address PREVENTION, then RESTITUTION, then RETRIBUTION and REHABILITATION (Leviticus 6: 1-7,24:19-23).

The ACDP will therefore:

  • Reinstate the death penalty;
  • Deny parole for serious crimes;
  • Deny bail for serious crimes;
  • Compel prisoners to work in order to pay for their board and lodging;
  • Compel convicted criminals to make restitution to their victims; and
  • Refuse permission for special comforts to prisoners.
ENVIRONMENT

ENVIRONMENT

The ACDP believes that human beings were created so as to live in harmony with nature, and that if we destroy the earth and the natural resources, we do so at our peril.

Environmental ecosystems in decline

“Our grandchildren may have access to conveniences that further reduce the drudgery of everyday life, but they will also inherit a planet with less than 20% of its original forests intact, with most of the readily available freshwater already spoken for, with most of the wetlands and reef systems destroyed or degraded, and much of the arable land under plough. They will inherit a stressed atmosphere and an unwanted legacy of toxic waste in the soil and water. Missing from the estate will be countless species, most wiped out before even being catalogued by scientists.”

This is not the scenario that God had in mind when he gave us dominion over the Earth as read in the book of Genesis.

Protection of the environment

The protection and care of our environment is not only the duty of the government, but every political party and of every person in South Africa. The ACDP believes that human beings were created so as to live in harmony with nature, and that if we destroy the earth and the natural resources, we do so at our peril.

The ACDP position on environmental issues:

  • The ACDP would encourage balanced increases in the budget for environmental matters.
  • We consider that a focus on the phenomenon of Eco-tourism can achieve the needed balance between man and nature while being contributive to job creation.
  • The ACDP agrees with efforts to ensure that our natural assets are efficiently protected, managed and successfully promoted.
  • We emphasize the need to introduce proper assessment and to obtain proper information as to the potential cost of policies, plans and projects that impact on the environment before developments are undertaken.

The people require that the government shoulders the overreaching responsibility to monitor, manage and protect the environment as well as the health of our people.

In order for us to balance the process of environmental conservation and developmental needs of our nation, we have to embark on a national strategic program to combat pollution damage.

With this need for control comes the realization that South Africa is a developing country and as such and we need to protect our interests and restrict other nations from using our shores as their dumping ground. We also need to protect ourselves from those who would despoil our environment in a manner that is prohibited in their home countries. We therefore support the imposition of hefty anti-dumping duties such as those recently levied on Asian countries. We also support strict monitoring of factories that pose health and environmental risks.

We need to focus on the effects of mining and industry on our environment and the general health and well being of South African communities in their vicinity. In most instances the communities that live in closest proximity to the mining activities are some of our poorer citizens. Large Industries are known to be producing large volumes of health threatening pollution with impunity.

Members of these communities depend on the mines and industries for employment and cannot “bite the hand that feeds them” by voicing their concerns. The result is that the issues of health and well being are generally not given the required degree of importance. The communities are then effectively denied their right to healthy environment.

Our Constitution states that everyone should have the right to a healthy ecological system, however the question still remains to what extent the rights of our communities are protected. Can they effectively participate in the making of decisions that impact on their environmental rights?

No framework exists whereby the rights and interests of a person or group can be protected. They have no say as to where and when mining and industry may be allowed. Thorough consultation with all interest groups should precede the right to grant or not grant a company a license for mining or industrial development and practices.

Although legislation in South Africa places heavy emphasis on environmental protection, not enough is being done to clamp down on the contribution by mining and industry toward the ecological degradation of some parts of our country. Provinces and Municipalities are often intimidated by the threat of mines and industries to “move out” if reasonable but expensive controls are applied. It is felt that bribery is a factor in some of these cases.

Respiratory diseases and other problems created by pollution are a major often hidden expense in our Health Care budget.

The ACDP is concerned for the region of the Eastern Cape where it is feared that mining operations must be more strictly managed, the region stands to lose substantially in tourist revenue. Illegal operations stretch throughout the province and include the digging up of river beds for building sand; large sections of unused clay quarries or pits that are left abandoned and which contributes to soil erosion and threaten to kill the spectacular and unique flora.

We support the projected aim of attracting more than 7 million tourists by the year 2000, however we stress the need to boost management control strategies in all regions to protect our environment against exploitative entrepreneurs.

The ACDP is concerned about the government’s lack of adequate response to the need to eradicate asbestos pollution, which is threatening the health of several of our communities. According to research, it has been found that in the Northern Province, large levels of hazardous fibre is washed into the rivers by rainwater and the waters are then used for washing and cooking.

Action must be speedily taken to prevent damage to the health of our people and environment. We must prevent the demise of our ecology and the damage to the health of South Africans.

An extract from the Government Green paper on an Environmental Policy for South Africa reads: “Traditionally, offenses committed in terms of environmental legislation have not been viewed as crimes, or moral wrongs. However, in order to secure sustainable use of environmental resources and protect the well being of citizens this perception must change. Therefore punishment of environmental crimes will reflect the gravity with which the degradation and abuse of the environment is considered.”

The need for environmental training in South Africa

Due the current decline in the ecosystem, the ACDP is very aware of the position stated in the recent White Paper on Environmental Management Policy for South Africa (July 1997):

“Conservation and sustainable use of environmental resources and their protection depends on changed behaviour by all individuals, households, and private and public institutions. These changes must affect processes of resource extraction, spatial development, appropriate and clean production, waste minimization and pollution control strategies in order to guarantee a higher quality of life for all.”

In order to make the required improvements in environmental management in South Africa, a strong ethic and program of environmental education and training will be required.

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

Education must be pro-active in moral and redemptive teaching. It must teach respect for the dignity, as well as the fallibility of human nature and provide an understanding of the centrality of God.

It must also teach principled stewardship in developing our natural resources.

The ACDP firmly believes that education should be inspired by certain values as pronounced by God, which are applicable for the benefit of the individual and society.

It should also center on the involvement of the family as the core unit in the educational framework.

The ACDP’s policy on education will focus on the building of character and the promotion of sound individual, family and civil values. This will be achieved through Value Based Education (VBE).

The ACDP will undertake to do the following:

  • place an increased emphasis on improving teaching skills, content knowledge and the provision of quality textbooks;
  • ensure the curriculum adequately incorporates study techniques and ethics and leadership training;
  • establish ICT laboratories in schools, and budget for upgrades, maintenance and teachers with the relevant skills;
  • hold Provinces accountable to ‘norms and standards’ for school infrastructure, effective spending, transport and school nutrition; and
  • strongly discourage the disruption of learners’ studies by union activities;
  • Value Based Education (VBE)

This system teaches respect for the basic humanity of all persons. It centers on principled stewardship and equity in developing and utilizing the natural resources have been given as a nation.

VBE aims to nurture the individual in the areas of character, charity, capacity and community.

It is based on a system with the aim of enabling the learner to achieve inquiring and interpretative abilities, critical assessment skills, knowledge and application skills and social values.

VBE does not intend to create a new system of education, but will co-ordinate existing educational models that develop the learner’s capacity in ways that advance the principle within value based education.

VBE will be organized within a management framework to achieve an education for all, steered by an equity-driven education process.

The VBE approach places the responsibility of the learner at the center of all learning and knowledge.

Equity-driven education (EDE)

This process aims at addressing inequalities within the system, which have been inherited from the past.

An EDE program will allow for:

  • the retraining of under-trained teachers;
  • the renewed discipline and commitment from teachers;
  • greater accountability from both teachers and administrators;
  • increased productivity and output from teachers and administrators;
  • greater discipline and commitment from pupils;
  • more funding to be allocated to schools that are severely under-resourced;
  • physical conditions of disadvantaged schools to be addressed;
  • the removal of all negative influences within schools, such as gangsterism, the carrying of weapons, (including guns and knives), the abuse of addictive substances such as drugs alcohol, criminal activity and disruptive behaviour

In addition, the ACDP will focus on the basic skills of numeracy and literacy, which are the building blocks of learning. Outcomes-based education (OBE) is difficult to achieve in well-resourced schools. South Africa has many schools that are under-resourced and therefore South Africa needs a different teaching regime.

Lifelong education also falls within this framework. To redress the effects of substandard education and its impact on individuals, a vigorous adult education program will be implemented.

An ACDP government would ensure that education remains a vibrant field for intellectual development.

Civil society/business and parent/teacher involvement

In many communities, there is a gap between teachers and parents. Parents hand their children over to the school, expecting them to shoulder the full burden of disciplining them and teaching them a work ethic. Teachers, by the same token, often become defensive when parents make inquiries and appear to challenge them. There is generally little effective communication between the school body and parents, and learners often take advantage of this gap and use it to get away with doing as little work as possible.

Research has found that, for the most part, parents would like to help, but do not know how.

The ACDP calls on business and civil society to help in this area by:

  • setting up communication systems in schools. Most parents have smartphones, or at least feature phones, so an SMS-based system would ensure that parents are kept in the loop.
  • setting up meetings between parents and teachers to map out a method of collaboration, defining roles and agreeing on what expectations could reasonably be met; and
  • stocking the library, setting up audio visual systems and equipping computer labs.

Where these projects have been implemented, they have shown amazing results after only a few years. Class averages overall have improved, and in some subjects by two symbols. The pass rate has also improved.

Early childhood development

The ACDP believes that early childhood development must comprise a holistic system that addresses the complete needs of a young individual.

Such a system involves all sectors needed for the creative, intellectual, physical and spiritual development of a child.

The ACDP’s focus on early childhood development is centered on three primary factors necessary for a child’s sustainable and effective development:

a) A sustainable nutritional program

The importance of proper and sustainable nutrition for children at an early learning stage is one of our primary objectives in early childhood development.

b) A multilateral approach

The ACDP believes that early childhood development is primarily linked to the first level of the social strata, which is the family.

We are of the opinion that early childhood development should be tackled on at least three fronts for pre-school development:

  • State assisted funding
  • Business and NGO involvement
  • Home schooling

The ACDP will therefore encourage parental involvement in all education and promote alternative education such as:

  • Home schooling;
  • Private Christian Schooling; and
  • Other cultural schooling.

Parental involvement must also be encouraged and promoted in State schools as this allows for improved student academic achievement, attendance, student behaviour and increased community support for schools, including human, financial and material resources.

Parental involvement can take the form of co-operation, participation and partnership.

c) Constitutional protection

We believe that a child should enjoy constitutional protection.

Children should have access to full constitutional privileges that protect them from any criminal acts of violence and abuse. Currently in practice these rights are often not accessible to the child. This will be changed through institutions as the Children’s Commissioner.

The Constitution must also aim to promote the security, safety and stable development of a child.

The current education system must be reviewed so that children graduate from school with the skills necessary for modern life.

The ACDP will ensure Grade R is available at all schools and early childhood development facilities are available in all areas. We will also improve access to quality ECD teacher training and market ECD teaching as a viable career option.

The ACDP will investigate digital education with a view to providing the best subject educators.

Basic education

The ACDP believes that the inability of our schools to address bullying appropriately must be dealt with. The inability to transition from corporal punishment culture to a human rights-centred approach is something we will address systematically. While the previous system perpetrated institutional violence it placed a check on violence between students, but now children are vulnerable to increased levels of bullying.

The quality of learning and teaching must be improved. The academic schooling system in South Africa has a repeat rate of 9% (nearly double that of most developing countries).

Too many children are dropping out of school before reaching matric. One solution is to introduce a simple, affordable school leaver’s exam like the American GED, because our current Adult matric is too complicated a process and therefore not accessible enough.

The physical and sexual abuse of children by children is aggravated by significant age disparities in a class. Despite the age norms policy, research shows that an age difference of up to eight years can exist in a Grade 1 classroom. Fixing the child safety problem requires reducing the failure rate of children.

The ACDP believes that more single-sex schools must be introduced. For example, a private school in Khayelitsha found that the most pressing need identified by parents in the area was for child safety and parents specifically asked for a private all-girls school. Single-sex government schools and/or low-fee single-sex private schools are needed in townships.

The current BELA bill, which undermines school governing bodies and home schooling, must be amended.

We believe that a thriving low-fee private school and cottage school sector would relieve pressure on overburdened government schools and the education budget. It would boost the economy, improve learner safety and welfare and even relieve traffic congestion by cutting down on commuting.

A home-schooling campaign that educates parents and caregivers, gives them skills and enables them to help their children with schoolwork should be launched. This could be an avenue for unemployed members of the community to make a useful contribution by assisting with classroom activities, thus also restoring dignity and developing skills.

The protection of home schooling rights protects the whole education system.

School Governing Bodies must democratize themselves and show solidarity between the richest schools and the poorest rural schools or this vital forum for democracy will be lost.

While the ACDP would welcome moves towards public private partnerships (PPPs) in schooling, we must be aware of the controversial nature of these arrangements and the very real concerns, especially in terms of oversight of such schools and minimum standards.

Supporters argue that PPP arrangements, even in fee-free schools, would provide flexibility, greater efficiency, increased accountability to government and parents, and deliver improved teaching and learning because of much needed extra resources. However, there seems to be no conclusive evidence of PPPs performing better than their public counterparts in countries where PPPs in schools have been formed. In fact, more money per pupil tends to be paid for administrative and management costs and less money per pupil tends to be paid on teaching and learning, both in ‘for-profit and non-profit’ schools, with teacher salaries being kept low because of a reliance on younger, less experienced staff.

By contrast, the largest part of South Africa’s education budget, divided through equitable share to the country’s nine provinces, goes to salaries.

While so much that determines a child’s school performance is linked to the home and not the classroom, there is still a growing consensus that South Africa’s poorest performing schools are under-funded.

Higher education

The ACDP recognizes the establishment of a co-ordinated higher education system, based on equal access and non-discrimination. This function is to be co-ordinated by the Council of Higher Education who will enjoy decentralized mandates from their respective provinces.

We also recognize that pursuing excellence and promoting the full realization of the potential of every student and employee are great ideals in education.

Although we agree that the state has responsibility to ensure that education is enjoyed by all, to vest that authority predominantly, if not exclusively under the control of the Council of Higher Education goes against the respect for provincial competence.

The ACDP supports extended access to higher education for those who can afford it.

In addition, there is a skills shortage in some disciplines. There needs to be greater cooperation between business and education. Tax incentives for skills development should be provided to businesses that invest in education and training.

In a greatly changing world, education policy must recognize and move with the technological advances and the digital age. A free higher education will have no value if it is not quality education. An education system that does not produce employable people has little to no value.

Thus, a radical reform of the higher education sector is needed. While technology has a vital role to play, the old technology analogy applies: unless you change a flawed process, all you are doing is automating a flawed process.

Associate Degrees

One suggestion is that a two-year Associate Degree be introduced. Access to this should be open to all South Africans through a number of channels, such as existing universities, colleges, private entities, and NGOs. The content should be available for free on the Internet, television and in libraries, so that anyone who wishes to study can do so.

The content should aim to repair the deficiencies of the schooling system and provide preparation for further study.

A degree of specialization should be included but the broad focus would be on thinking skills that include logic or rational, analytical, creative and critical thinking.

A nominal fee for exams could be considered.

Exams should be largely automated and available at any time of the year.

Students who pass these examinations should then be able to enter a program of further study to gain a bachelor’s degree at existing universities to prepare for careers in, for example, law, medicine, engineering, or post-graduate education.

General Bachelor’s Degrees

Another suggestion is a general three-year bachelors’ program aimed at providing entrance into employment, entrepreneurship or work within the public sector such as nursing, teaching, policing, army or the civil service.

Study material should be available for free.

After one year of theory and practical assignments, a progressive system of internships would be employed in years two and three to ensure that graduates are ready and able to work and in a position to begin earning in those years.

On-line systems, which are marketplaces where contractors offer their skills to businesses on a project basis for a small fee, could be used to help candidates both build a portfolio of work and references,and earn while earning a small income.

Private enterprise could absorb business candidates who have proven track records and public sector workers could begin working in the sector directly or for NGOs.

Urban universities are spending far too much money on residences and accommodation for students. This investment should be directed to remote campuses based in suitable small towns. This would use existing accommodation and, as student accommodation is an attractive real estate investment for small investors, it will boost the rural economy. Remote campuses need not be substandard. If leading universities from Australia can have campuses in South Africa, why can leading South African universities not have campuses in small towns?

If suitable sites are selected for remote campuses and given appropriate supporting infrastructure, they could be more attractive to academics than expensive urban centers.

Incentives could be given to the best academics to be located in more remote campuses and to make use of technology to teach students in the cities. Eventually, a flow to the rural areas would be encouraged and growth and development would result in those areas.

United Nations data indicates that South Africa allocates a higher proportion of its budget toward education than the United States of America, United Kingdom and Germany.  Not only does this show a clear commitment to investing in human development in our country but it also makes sense considering that education for the vast majority of people in South Africa has been historically entirely inadequate and deprioritized.

The ACDP must continue to support the prioritization of education in order to ensure greater opportunities for every child in South Africa and to tackle inequality and poverty.

We will continue to oppose community protests being allowed to disrupt schooling and higher education which puts learners and students at a serious disadvantage.  We will call for union activity to be restricted wherever it may potentially undermine education in this country.

Further education and training

The ACDP supports a policy on Further Education and Training.

We believe it will make a significant difference to the lives of those who have not been fortunate enough to complete their education.

Further Education and Training fills a certain niche within our educational system, and should be further developed.

Higher education and tertiary institutions

The ACDP will consider agreeing with educationalists that, before Treasury and Parliament decide the fate of higher education and tertiary institutions, a national summit be called for South Africans to decide their priorities for themselves.  It is important to note that if the public agrees to commit to achieving free quality education it will require some sacrifice in terms of spending.

As Wits Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib says, “if for instance, we have to find R50 billion for freeing higher education, the question…is why are we putting it in higher education. Why are we not putting it in early childhood development, [or] the national health system…society as a whole needs to say, we are prepared [to do this]. We are going to focus on recreating our economy, we need…skills…and hopefully that’s where we [will] put out our money. [They must say] we are prepared to sacrifice and push out those other demands for five years until we reach that.”

It must be the majority choice but the reality is that the drivers of the #FeesMustFall campaign are ‘deeply political’ and it could well be that no solution will be enough to satisfy the various political agendas that will stop at nothing en route to their collective and individual goals.

Spending on post-school education over the next three years for universities and student funding is the fastest-growing part of the national budget. It is, however, encouraging that business professionals have teamed up to build the new Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Program aimed at addressing the flaws in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) model. This is an example of the kind of resources the private sector can invest in public-private initiatives to address the crisis in higher education.

Creative solutions

Recommendations by an independent commission set up by President Jacob Zuma and chaired by Justice Jonathan Heher on funding alternatives have been released, but whatever is decided by this or any future administration is going to be unlikely to satisfy everyone or solve all problems.  This means additional creative solutions are a necessity.

The ACDP will consider championing aspects of proposals recommending the embracing of current digital revolution technologies for wide-scale online learning for primary, high school and tertiary education.

The concept includes classrooms being replaced by larger, cheaper “warehouse” structures erected close to rural and urban settlements for easy access and giving each learner/student a tablet, broadband connectivity and data packages. The ‘schools’ would be staffed by ‘education managers’ trained in managing students’ discipline, motivational techniques and providing logistical help. The lessons would be pre-recorded with translation into any of the eleven official languages possible.

The online model potentially frees the system from the need to produce vast numbers of quality teachers of subjects like maths and science, who would now be the content experts producing the lessons online. The focus would be on producing education managers. Although the initial setup is costly, the running costs are much lower and more efficient.

The University of the Free State (UFS) now offers 100% online Advanced Certificates in Teaching and English. To quote Professor Daniella Coetzee-Manning: “Our inadequate education system is producing students who are completely unequipped to deal with the complexities of quantitative analytics, which together with qualitative communication is said by the World Economic Forum to be the two skill-sets essential for survival in our post Fourth Industrial Revolution world.”

This concept could also free universities to be run primarily as centers of research, with the education they provide cheaply distributed online. It is envisaged that if leading academics spent more time researching, patenting and commercializing ideas on behalf of universities, the same universities could become more self-supporting and more useful to society as a whole.

Perhaps it is time for our education system to take a leap into a brave new educational world of large-scale online education that can provide the quality education and skills needed for today’s youth to not only succeed but excel.

The ACDP will consider becoming a champion of aspects of these concepts.

ECONOMY

ECONOMY

The ACDP wants all South Africans to enjoy a peaceful and crime-free society; a substantially lower uniform tax rate; marked improvement in the value of the Rand; greater employment and self-employment opportunities; sustained high growth rates for the South African economy; and improved quality of life, especially for the poor.

The ACDP is therefore committed to:

  • reducing government debt and spending;
  • job creation and economic growth through an open-market policy with as little government interference as possible;
  • becoming competitive in the global economy and global markets;

lowering inflation;

  • state enterprises operating in open competition with private providers; and
  • doing away with complicated tax forms, laws and expensive monitoring

The ACDP will place the elimination of inflation at the top of its list of economic priorities that are aimed at achieving a rapidly growing economy.

State-owned enterprises will be required to operate in open competition with private providers. They will ensure their continued existence by providing a superior service to the public.