Hugh Corder will ask provocative questions in a free, public lecture on the South African Constitution on Thursday 24 March 2011 at 17:30.

“Are the ideals of the South African Constitution too unrealistic? Do we have the continuing will to struggle? Are the newly powerful and wealthy not too complacent? Do we have the human resources with sufficient skills and commitment in the public sector to put good plans into effect? Is the private sector sufficiently socially responsive?” These are some of the provocative questions that Hugh Corder will ask in a free, public lecture on the South African Constitution on Thursday 23 March 2011 at 17:30. The lecture forms part of the Great Texts/Big Questions series at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA).

GIPCA’s director, Jay Pather comments: “This popular lecture series has featured both great texts and big questions. This lecture is a significant meeting of both, and raises some deeply profound questions of our time. We are honoured to be able to host someone of Corder’s stature.”

Corder was a member of the technical committee that drafted South Africa’s transitional Bill of Rights in 1993. He was also technical adviser to the Constitutional Assembly in 1995, consultant to the Joint Ethics Committee of Parliament in 1996-97, and member of the panel of arbitrators of the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (1988-1994). He also served as a member of the Law Commission Project Committee which investigated the Administrative Justice Act (1999), and a consultant to Parliament on the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation (1998-9) and on Legislative Oversight of the Executive (1999/2000).

According to Corder, the South Africa Constitutions of 1993 and 1996 stand as great texts in the world of law internationally. He says that they represent not only the triumph of magnanimity, realism and compromise, but also the lessons learned from centuries of constitutionalisation throughout the world. Corder is of the opinion that the purpose of the 1993 Constitution as a mechanism for transition is too easily lost, commonly being referred to as the Interim Constitution. “Thus a subtle range of objectives and elements is too easily forgotten, and its fundamental achievement as the foundation of our current Final Constitution is taken for granted,” he said. “This is not to take anything away from the 1996 Constitution, as it too represents a finely-crafted, elegantly written, popularly legitimate and thoroughly progressive recipe for good governance,” he added.

Corder has lectured at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, was the UCT Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law (1993-4, 1996 and 1998), Director of the School for Advanced Legal Studies (1996-8), Dean of the Faculty of Law (1999 – 2008) and was elected as Fellow of the University of Cape Town in 2004. He is also a widely published author.

This event will take place at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town on Thursday 24 March at 17:30 and is free. Refreshments will be served from 17:00. No Booking is necessary. For more information on the series, please contact 021 480 7156 or

Hugh Corder audio recording available for download.

Start: 24 Mar ’11 5:30 pm

End: 24 Mar ’11 6:25 pm

Cost: Free


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa