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  • Alana Potter

Participating in Justice - Invited or Invented?


Marikana informal settlement residents outside the Western Cape High Court (Dennis Webster)


Terms like ‘transparency’, ‘accountability’, ‘participation’, ‘equity’, and ‘inclusion’ have been in development language for so long that we seldom stop to think about what they really mean. In the end, these terms are about power -- who is in, who is out, who has it, and who doesn’t. The Justice Based Approach shakes up this dull narrative and asks the hard questions about who benefits and how to dismantle structural power relations.


Although the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were understood to be aspirational, we’re barely at the foothills of SDG attainment, and not because we lack a human rights framework. People are “left behind” and injustices prevail despite justiciable human rights because it is the poorest and most marginalised who are least able to claim or realise their rights, or hold duty bearers (such as the state) accountable, precisely because they are structurally disadvantaged.