We should take keen interest in laws that govern us

Society's trust in public representatives is waning as questions about their integrity and ethics persist.


There are many things in this country that we, as society, take for granted. We have completely outsourced our constitutional responsibilities to others, including our elected public representatives, who most of the time are found wanting. When we “elect” someone into political office, we expect that person’s integrity, ethics and morals to be beyond reproach. We assume that that person will look after, protect and be prudent with our resources. These are, and should be, our nonnegotiable principles. We also expect our public representatives to be very meticulous when it comes to reading, analysing and understanding the constitution. Where necessary,…

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There are many things in this country that we, as society, take for granted. We have completely outsourced our constitutional responsibilities to others, including our elected public representatives, who most of the time are found wanting.

When we “elect” someone into political office, we expect that person’s integrity, ethics and morals to be beyond reproach.

We assume that that person will look after, protect and be prudent with our resources. These are, and should be, our nonnegotiable principles.

We also expect our public representatives to be very meticulous when it comes to reading, analysing and understanding the constitution. Where necessary, amendments should be effected. The objective of this is to ensure that, at all times, it responds to the needs and development of the majority of the people of this country – and serves their interests.

There are a number of questions which should bother all of us when it comes to the integrity, moral and ethical standards of our public representatives which we are aware of but, somehow, feel disempowered to even question.

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We have people in parliament and the executive who are suspects in some criminality of one form or the other, but continue to be in office despite that.

We need to understand that we should never allow ourselves to use the same standards of measurement of integrity that we use for ordinary citizens. That’s why we defined our public representatives as those whose integrity to be beyond reproach.

We should have no doubt about their integrity. If we do establish some doubt, we should not force anyone out of office. They should vacate their offices voluntarily, just as they voluntarily availed themselves to serve us.

When parliament impeaches a person, it means that person has broken all ethical, moral and integrity standards. That person, has become dishonourable. But then the very parliament, the following week declares the very person it declared dishonourable, honourable, and is sworn into public office as a member of parliament.

You then get a commission of inquiry, chaired by a distinguished judge, casting doubt on individuals and even recommends some remedial action be taken against them, of course, subject to their intent to take such recommendations for judicial review.

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The mere fact that some doubt is cast on their integrity should be enough to preclude them from public office, subject and until to the finalisation of their cases.

What is and should be of interest here is that the very judge who cast doubt on their integrity is the one who is called upon to administer their oath of office. This may not be constitutionally wrong as things stand right now, but it does raise some integrity, moral and ethical questions.

We cannot have the constitution, which is supposed to be the supreme law of the country, being above all integrity, moral and ethical standards. All these principles have to a part of the whole. No one principle should be subservient to another!

We, as society, therefore, should take keen interest in the laws that govern us. We should also not lower our own standards when it comes to the integrity of our public representatives.

Their moral and ethical standards must at all times be kept in check.

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