The fundamental problem identified and placed at the root of this thesis is inadequate social transformation. In this thesis three fundamental questions are answered. First, what is substantive equality, as developed by the Constitutional Court, and why did it not bring about adequate social transformation? Second, what is the South African substantive constitutional revolution and what are the consequences flowing forth therefrom? Finally, this thesis is concluded with a tentative reflection on an ethical conception of equality by asking whether an ethical conception of equality can address the fundamental problem of inadequate social transformation.
Social transformation denotes (i) radical change and (ii) a process of be-coming. The radical change refers to Ackermann’s notion of a substantive constitutional revolution whereas the process of be-coming requires from each one of us to never be complacent with meaning. Lack of social transformation is signified by the pejorative, discriminatory, hegemonic, and other morally abhorrent conceptions of the other still plaguing South Africa. Social transformation seeks transformation of (i) the conceptions that we have of each other (that is, transformation of the ontological meaning of man, woman, white, black, homosexual, heterosexual; in short, transformation of subjectivity) and (ii) morally shattered relationships between human beings inter se. It is proposed that both transformed conceptions of the self and the relationship between human beings ought to be ethical. To this end, both conceptions of the self and the relationship between human beings ought to be informed by the African philosophical concept of Ubuntu.
In the end it is concluded that social transformation does not start with a theory and most definitely not in the mind of a politician, but also not in that of a philosopher, playwright, or some kind of public speaker. Social transformation starts and ends with the conception of the other and, based on such conception, the manner in which one treats the other.