The Rule of Law and Accountability - Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s Visit to UJ
Article and picture by Nezo Sobekwa (Third year International Studies student and tutor at the Department of Politics)
On the 26th of September 2013, the first year Politics class at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Campus, were privileged to receive a lecture from Dr Ramphele.
The founder of Agang, which loosely translated means ‘to build’, and which is set to participate for the first time in next year's elections, spoke on the subject matter of ‘The Rule of Law’. This message stressed to a large degree the importance of the separation of powers principle; an important lesson for her audience particularly as the majority of them will be voting for the first time next year.
She demonstrated, citing present day examples such as scandals surrounding the hiring of seemingly unqualified officials into public offices and the secrecy bill proposal, the extent to which this principle can be abused when the boundaries between judiciary, legislature and executive are not respected. She then went on to highlight, according to her perspective, just how undermined our democracy is in light of such abuses.
An informative lecture which left students thinking critically about the quality of their leadership and by extension the power of their vote. It was warmly received by many, but also sternly challenged by a few who questioned her own leadership decisions and integrity in past positions. To this end these challenges presented Dr Ramphele with the opportunity to become accountable for her own actions. This allowed for a practical demonstration of an accountable leader, thus working to the aid of her presentation.
An enlightening lecture for some, an inspiring one for others, all in all a very rich visit with education the victor. It is only fitting then to sum up this experience in her own words:
"My responsibility is to educate the next generation" - Dr Ramphele.
Dr Ramphele signs a copy of her book, Conversations with My Sons and Daughters, as Zinhle Manzini, a Politics Assistant, looks on.