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Scary times ahead for SA's Constitutional Democracy?

09 March 2012, 11:18

A constitutional democracy is defined as a government under law in which coalition and majority rule is balanced by minority and individual rights, and in which most rights are balanced by responsibilities - including the responsibility of each citizen to study the history of constitutional government in order to illuminate it in ways that no definition ever can … and in order, thereby, to allow it to evolve further in light of ancient wisdoms and the needs of our evolving global civilization.

or

A system of government based on popular sovereignty in which the structures, powers, and limits of government are set forth in a constitution.

So what scary threats lie ahead for South Africa's fragile democracy? Well lets see. Firstly its the preliminary version of the ANC's policy paper that sparks the controversy. In it radical changes  and amendments are being looked at by the ANC to change the constitution so as to allow them to further hog every sphere of governance in South Africa.

Since his election victory in 2009,SA president Jacob Zuma,had been wanting to review the powers awarded to the Constitutional Court,with the real goal of trying warn of those he think can co-govern the country through the courts. So far the Constitutional Court has put the breaks on Zuma's power grab madness.

Then there was the so-called reforming and rationalizing of the country's nine provinces and the ANC's party goal of centralize the powers given to local governments. Things like the police service,health care service and education are being earmarked for changes. By weakening local government,benefits the ANC politically especially in a place like the Western Cape where the opposition Democratic Alliance governs, and DA party chief Helen Zille being our Premier.

Then there is the issue with free press. The ANC's proposed creation of a media tribunal was a half-assed attempt to stifle media critics of ANC rule. The South African Constitution at the moment allows for the promoting of the freedom of press and all other media outlets. When 
reporting on things such as "national interest","security","state security" and "national security" all can be abused by Government Officials,and can then subsequently inhibit access by public interest on certain issues on the basis that such information needs to be protected and therefore is not in our best interest.

 

 

Prof Jane Duncan of The Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society,School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University wrote:

 

"The ANC argues that the press is incapable of regulating themselves,and argues that their excessive commercialisation has led to the media's pursuing profit at the expense of basic human rights...The ANC claims that government has led to a more diverse media landscape,and that the print media still remain especially resistant to transformation because they are not state-regulated".

 

Civil society organisations(CSO's),The South African chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa(MISA-SA),the Southern African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI),all agree that the ANC's attempt at regulating stringent press control of information is offensive to the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and freedom of the press. And that it not provide for a public interest defence,but rather promotes secrecy and self-censorship by the Government.

 

Then there is their economic policies for South Africa. In the 1990's the ANC was all for free market,primarily you could argue to get a young and new democracy on its own two feet. Now,18 years later,its more Marxist in its approach more so with regards to property-rights and a certain underhanded proposals for forced land confiscations like you have in neighbouring Zimbabwe that completely ruined that country's economy in a very short time.

 

 

So ANC's intention to radically change the country's constitution shows the little respect the ruling party has for the democratic institutions in South Africa. The once-glorious liberation movement, seems to now wanna obstruct and impede meeting the standards of democratic governance it helped bring to South Africa in 1994.Being constitutionally monitored had p***ed off slacker ANC politicians.  Indeed scary times ahead for SA's Constitutional Democracy.

 

 

References:

 

1.Wall Street Journal,Review and Outlook.

 

 

2.New York Times,Eusebius McKaiser.

 

3.Dictionary.com 2012

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