Today the DA Youth is staging a sit-in at Constitution Hill to highlight the current threats posed to the Constitution of South Africa and to assert our commitment to upholding it at all costs as the supreme law of our land.
Today we are also pleased to reveal the fifth poster in the DA Youth’s ‘In our future’ poster campaign series. The poster features an image of the Constitution of South Africa burning in a fire, alongside the caption, ‘In our future the Constitution will reign supreme’.
This poster makes two points. The first is that there is a clear and pressing threat posed to numerous elements of the Constitution. The second is that, in the DA’s future, the Constitution will reign supreme as the ultimate law in South Africa. There will be no person or body above that law, and it will be fiercely protected.
The current threats to the Constitution are starkly illustrated by the policy document released recently by the ANC. This document, which proposes a number of Constitutional amendments, represents the largest assault on the Constitution witnessed in our country to date and is a complete derogation of the principles of constitutional democracy. It should be deeply concerning to every South African who values post-Apartheid South Africa.
Some of the key threats our Constitution is currently facing include:
- A threat to private land ownership, with a bid to do away with expropriation without fair compensation;
- a threat to the freedom of the media with the Media Appeals Tribunal;
- a threat to the freedom of citizens to know and expose Government wrongdoing with the Protection of State Information Bill; and
- a bid to centralise power by reducing the autonomy of the provinces.
Another much discussed proposal linked to this document is the ominous decision by the ANC to review the Constitutional Court’s decisions.
Commenting on the DA’s successful court bid for the disclosure of information used by the National Prosecuting Authority in making the decision to drop charges against Jacob Zuma, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu stated: "It is clear that democracy can be undermined by simply approaching courts to reverse any decision arrived at by a qualified organ of state," and that the DA is attempting “to use the courts to undermine and paralyse government".
The separation of powers is central to the preservation of democracy in South Africa. The judiciary must ensure that executive decisions comply with the Constitution, which no entity, not even the ANC, the President or Parliament, is above. What Jackson Mthembu does not understand is that by refusing to be held accountable for unconstitutional decisions, it is not the judiciary that is undermining and paralysing Government, but the ANC.
The Constitution of South Africa is the single most important document in our land. It gives individuals the freedom to live a life they value without interference from the state. It offers checks and balances against power abuse and prevents power being concentrated in too few hands. The Constitution enjoins the state to deliver economic opportunities for all. Importantly, the Constitution holds the key to addressing the inequalities of Apartheid.
Today the DA Youth is sending a clear message that we will act as protectors of the Constitution, no matter the cost. We will offer this fierce protection because, in the words of DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, the Constitution, “was co-written by the most iconic minds across political and social divides … it is our codified compact based on a non-racial idea called the new South Africa … it is the mechanism which directs us unambiguously to redress poverty and inequality.”
Where the ANC-led Government has failed, we will not allow them to blame the Constitution or amend it to absolve themselves from taking responsibility for their own failings.
The ANC asserts that the Constitution has proven inadequate for social and economic transformation. This is simply a front to hide the fact that the real obstacle to enabling redress in South Africa is not the Constitution, but the ANC itself.
In OUR future the Constitution will be celebrated and protected as the ultimate law in South Africa. In OUR future, the Constitution will reign supreme.