Justice Albie Sachs reflects on the creation of SA Constitution

Former Constitutional Court Judge reflected on Oliver Tambo’s vision and contribution to South Africa’s constitution. He did this during the 9th Dullah Omar Memorial Lecture which took place on 25 March at the University of the Western Cape.

During his lecture titled: Speaking to Oliver Tambo's Ghost: Twenty Years into Democracy, Justice Albie Sachs highlighted the main battles during the creation of SA’s new Constitution and where the constitutional democracy stands now.

When sharing OR Tambo’s insights during the constitution making process, he also spoke about his friendship with OR Tambo, and the kind of leadership Tambo provided: methodical, civil and inclusive, even in a time of great adversity, heading an organisation that had no state powers but that had to contend with the powers of a state that was brutal in its methods.

“OR was not the kind of leader who worried about ethical decisions,” said Sachs, “but who never thought he could answer them all. He never sent out official notices to be obeyed. He felt these matters needed to be discussed by the whole movement, to come up with a solution to the benefit of all.”

“People think of a revolutionary as a fiery, tempestuous person, with burning eyes and powerful convictions. But Oliver Tambo proved that a true revolutionary can be someone who's warm and embracing and civil, even to enemies. You can be a revolutionary and you can be quiet. You can be profound and radical and yet civil and moral at the same time.”

This year's speaker, Judge Albie Sachs, was involved for several decades in the anti-apartheid movement, and was appointed by former president Nelson Mandela as South Africa's first Constitutional Court judge in 1994. During his 15 years of service, Judge Sachs contributed to ground-breaking legal decisions such as the Home Affairs vs Fourie judgement, and the legalisation of same-sex marriage in South Africa.

Listen to Judge Sachs’ speech HERE. You can also watch the highlights from these lecture HERE. Pictures from the conference can also be found on our Facebook Page.