The 17th International Winelands Conference took place in Stellenbosch on 16, 17 and 18 October 2023. This year’s theme was: “Re-imagining Public Servant Leadership in a post-capture, post-pandemic governance landscape”.
The Inclusive Society Institute attended the conference and was represented by Dr Klaus Kotzé who delivered a working paper titled “Re-imagining governance in South Africa: Putting the Constitution first”. The paper recognises governance shortfalls, while seeking to conceptually investigate where we come from in order to better conceive preferable pathways and modalities for future governance. The paper pursues the ongoing work that the Institute is doing to amplify the centrality of Constitutional principles in governance and civil society. It was therefore opportune to present the paper to an audience of practitioners and experts at a conference focusing on public servant leadership, a key principle espoused by the Constitution and amplified in the paper.
The conference was hosted Prof Zweli Ndevu, Director: School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University and Deputy Chairperson of the Inclusive Society Institute. When asked, Prof Ndevu expressed his utmost satisfaction with the proceedings. He highlighted that it was the variety of speakers, representing different sectors, including academia, the public and civil service that contributed to the event’s success. Various delegates mentioned their appreciation for the critical approach of the conference proceedings, which opened space for creative suggestions to South Africa’s urgent crises.
In the final plenary, the Prof Mark Swilling suggested that whereas past conferences called for a global rethink on the role of the state, that this process had now begun in full earnest. The Institute will continue playing an active role in pursuing a unified sense of purpose that places the Constitution central to South African governance.