By Shanil Haricharan.
Originally published in the Cape Times, 26 October 2015.
"We, the people of South Africa" - the first words in the preamble of our constitution - is an unequivocal declaration that the constitution derives its authority from the people of South Africa. Our constitutional democracy is grounded on informed citizens actively participating through the various institutions mandated in the constitution. A vibrant democracy requires citizens to organise themselves through civil society structures.
It was these formations that made a profound contribution to the demise of apartheid. However, during the past 20 years, civil society organisations have faced many challenges. In spite of these hurdles, a number of organisations and their leaders continue to play a significant role in giving voice to the people and advancing our democracy.