OPENNESS & ACCOUNTABILITY

Seeking to realise the achievement of the founding values of the Constitution

Openness and accountability (O&A) are two of the founding values contained in Section 1 of the Constitution and are central to the constitutional vision. Reflecting on these values, the Constitutional Court has described an open and transparent government as being the lifeblood of democracy.

The values of O&A are not merely ends in themselves; they are vital to achieve a society founded on equality and human dignity that the Constitution envisages. Through this focus area, the LRC seeks to integrate various work across the LRC’s focus areas, and to contemplate specific issues related to O&A in a proactive, systemic and strategic manner. In this regard, the LRC seeks to identify the most serious challenges to an open, accountable and democratic society and, through litigation, research, advocacy, and training, works towards ensuring that the constitutional vision becomes a reality.

The O&A focus area, which engages on the domestic, regional, and international levels, covers three specific sub-themes:

  • Information rights, which includes free speech, privacy, and mass and targeted surveillance;
  • Protest and policing, which includes enabling the right to peaceful protest, police reform, and appropriate police oversight; and
  • Safeguarding public institutions, which focuses on strengthening and ensuring the structural independence of key democratic institutions and the accountability of public office-bearers.

In the regional and international context, the O&A focus area engages with relevant mechanisms within the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations, often in collaboration with a number of national and international civil society organisations. The LRC’s involvement in the International Network of Civil Liberty Organisations (INCLO) is an important aspect of this work and enhances global efforts to maintain an appropriate environment for freedom of expression and the protection and promotion of social protest.