On Wednesday 31 August 2016, community members in Gauteng received constitutional law education from a University of Johannesburg (UJ) academic. Prof David Bilchitz taught Alexandra community members about the socio-economic rights in the Constitution and the relevant legal principles in this area which can assist their community.
Prof Bilchitz is the Director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC) a centre of the UJ.
“The socio-economic rights in the bill of rights speak to the conditions faced by many residents of Alexandra. The workshop was designed to empower members of the community with knowledge of the key principles the courts have articulated in relation to these rights,” said Prof Bilchitz.
Prof Bilchitz conducted the workshop as part of a course on human rights education run by the pro bono programme of law firm Edward Nathan Sonnebergs for community members of Alexandra. The Director of the programme is Mr. Ngwako Raboshakga, a former researcher at SAIFAC.
“The teaching methods we used are designed not only to empower the community with knowledge but also to help them develop skills that will allow them to exercise their rights. Community members were divided into small groups to develop their understanding of cases and the day culminated in a moot court hearing where they utilised their knowledge gained during the day” said Prof Bilchitz.
Participants in the workshop included teachers, psychologists, community activists and political party members. Community members thanked Prof Bilchitz and requested that further projects be developed for educating people in South Africa about the Bill of Rights.