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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City


’Tis the season to pray for South Africa

The season of moonshot pacts, multiparty charters and doomsday coalitions has been blown away by the wind of change that is the MK party.


To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven, according to biblical Ecclesiastes.

The season of moonshot pacts, multiparty charters and doomsday coalitions has been blown away by the wind of change that is former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

ALSO READ: Jabulani Khumalo asks court to reinstate him on MK party’s MP list

In the reshaped landscape, dividing lines are clear between those who uphold South Africa’s constitution and those who want it scrapped.

MK’s 24-page election manifesto is an assault on the founding document of our democracy.

In MK’s preamble, the country’s woes are compounded by “a liberal constitution that constrains the political will of the majority”.

This is vintage Zuma, bemoaning the constitution even while trying to use it to subvert due process. This week, MK sought to get the Constitutional Court to delay the first sitting of the seventh parliament.

MK’s manifesto pledges to move “our country away from constitutional supremacy toward unfettered parliamentary supremacy”.

Among MK’s complaints is that “post-apartheid reconstruction cannot be facilitated by a liberal constitution that has the most extensive legal protections for the former oppressor.

“Property relations cannot be transformed by a liberal constitution that privileges the property rights of land thieves over the property rights of the dispossessed masses.

“The only unconstrained power by the liberal constitution is the power of money”.

After listing further grievances, MK pledges to hold a “referendum to scrap the 1996 constitution and replace it with a parliamentary system, with or without a codified constitution”.

Leaning towards MK on the anti-constitutional side are the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Patriotic Alliance (PA).

In its manifesto, the EFF’s assault on the constitution is less radical than that of MK, consisting of several amendments rather than a complete scrapping.

However, we have seen enough of the EFF’s thuggish behaviour in parliament and in councils to know they disregard boundaries at whim.

ALSO READ: MK party files urgent application to ConCourt to interdict first sitting of Parliament

While the PA doesn’t want the constitution scrapped, it seeks to change provisions regarding foreign nationals, the death penalty, unions and royal leaders.

On such matters, the PA is illiberal and thus at odds with the constitution.

At the other end of the spectrum, the largest of the parties consistently defending the constitution is the Democratic Alliance. Although the ANC is bigger, it has not always stood up for the constitution.

The way ANC MPs protected former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Zuma – and perhaps even Cyril Ramaphosa in the Phala Phala matter – showed a preference for what MK calls “unfettered parliamentary supremacy”. Ramaphosa, of course, led the ANC negotiating team at Codesa in the early ’90s.

He also chaired the Constitutional Assembly, which ushered in our 1996 constitution. He was the midwife. Now, he faces an equally important task: to steer the bulk of the ANC national executive committee away from the ruinous road of populist anti-constitutionalism.

This does not mean the constitution cannot be changed. Constitutions are not written in stone.

Ours has been amended 18 times. However, in the season of constitutionalists versus anti-constitutionalists, it is constitutionalists who must prevail if SA is to prosper.

All of us should defend our constitution against the assault by MK. Here ends today’s reading. Let us pray for South Africa.

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