People divided on constitutional changes: Survey

By Drum Digital
11 May 2012

People are divided on whether it is time to change the Constitution, according to survey results released on Tuesday.

"Whilst 39 percent of metro adults feel that South Africa's Constitution does not need to be changed at the moment, 41 percent disagree -– but 20 percent gave a 'don't know' response," according to TNS South Africa.

Two thousand people living in seven metropolitan areas were asked to respond to the statement: "South Africa's Constitution does not need to be changed at the moment".

Thirty-nine percent agreed and 41 percent disagreed, but there were differences along racial lines.

Among blacks surveyed, 43 percent agreed, 36 percent disagreed and 21 percent said "don't know".

For whites, 31 percent agreed, 50 percent disagreed and 19 percent said "don't know; for coloureds it was 31, 47 and 22 percent, and for Indians/Asians 27, 59 and 14 percent.

There were no age and gender differences.

The Constitution sets out the way the government is organised and what the rights and duties of the country's citizens are. It lays out, for example, how a president is appointed, what people can expect in terms of shelter or water.

Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town, wrote on his blog Constitutionally Speaking in March, that the Constitution had been amended 16 times so far.

He said the number of amendments was not as important as the type of amendment.

Most recently, City Press reported that the National House of Traditional Leaders had appealed to Parliament to debate removing a Constitutional clause protecting people on the grounds of sexual orientation.

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