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[ADVOCACY] SERI's Jason Brickhill speaks to ASRI fellows about democracy and accountability (22 May 2024).

JB ASRI ZeinabOn 9 May 2024, SERI's Jason Brickhill spoke to 18 young graduates about SERI's work in instances of significant constitutional non-adherence by the state and what work SERI deems important to strengthen democracy and accountability in South Africa. The young graduates are currently fellows of the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI) Future Leaders Programme. Jason spoke alongside Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC). ASRI director of research Angelo Fick facilitated the discussion and the young graduates had an opportunity to ask questions and share their views of the topic.

Jason and Lawson discussed the nature of SERI and CASAC's work particularly their use of litigation as a tool to protect and advance constitutional rights. Discussing the importance of protecting the Constitution, Lawson Naidoo said, "the Constitution is only as powerful as it is used" and that "unless the Constitution has an impact on people’s lives, they are not going to care about it."

Both Jason and Lawson reflected on the changing context in which SERI and CASAC now work and about how there are new challenges for civil society and grassroots movements on the frontlines, in particular. They also briefly reflected on the importance of voting and the significance of the upcoming national elections in May 2024.

Jason also discussed the nature of SERI's work and the use of research, advocacy, and litigation as tools to advance socio-economic rights. He then reflected on the nature of SERI's litigation which is typically made up of a combination of "fast and slow litigation". Many of SERI's cases require swift intervention such as in cases of unlawful evictions, the disconnection of basic services or unwarranted arrests, however, another significant portion of SERI's litigation is much more protracted and is usually strategically focused to achieve meaningful progression and development of the law.