As we approach World Social Justice Day on February 20, one’s natural instinct is to reflect on the state of social justice in SA, Africa and the world. At home, the reflective moment is also inspired by the fact that in April we will celebrate 25 years of democracy. So what is the state of social justice — and why should we care? The second part is the easiest to answer. Advancing social justice is, after all, about delivering on our constitutional promise. In its preamble, the constitution promises to provide a foundation to "heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights". It further promises to "improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of every person". So social justice, which is about the fair and just distribution of opportunities, resources, privileges and burdens in society, is a constitutional imperative. Why did the architects of our constitution and democracy conside...

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