Change Constitution if needs be, union says
Johannesburg - The ANC should not be apologetic for seeking to amend the Constitution if it proves to be a hindrance to rooting out social injustices, Numsa said on Wednesday.
"If the Constitution... after 18 years, is proving incapable of making any meaningful dent in the real cleavages in South African society, then it is time to use the mechanisms embodied in the Constitution to amend it," the National Union of Metalworkers of SA said in a statement.
"The ANC need not apologise to anyone for doing this," it said.
Former president FW de Klerk recently criticised the African National Congress's announcement that its policy conference in June would usher in a "second transition" for the country.
This policy shift would focus on social and economic change in the next three to five decades.
In a public letter issued after the ANC released its draft policy documents, De Klerk questioned the party's plans to end the country’s "Constitutional consensus" reached 18 years ago.
He said when the country entered into a new democracy, it was agreed that the Constitution, and not the majority of the day, would be sovereign.
He said this was the basis on which the then ruling National Party, under his leadership, gave up power.
Numsa rejected the notion that, in 1994, all South Africans surrendered their sovereignty to a "compromise" Constitution which ushered in the new democratic dispensation.
"Only a fool would think that a compromise is a permanent solution, the union said.
"Our rejection of such an absurd idea is based on the understanding that the working class... cannot abandon the possibility of a civilisation not based on their exploitation by capitalists."
The union said it noted that the ANC had stated that it would not be blackmailed into fear of legitimately seeking to amend the Constitution, where this would be necessary to advance the social and economic freedom of all South Africans.
Numsa said most people, particularly some political parties, opposed to the idea, feared the black government.
"[This fear] was masked as the defence of the Constitution."
This "ruthless" defence by white monopoly capital had contributed to inequalities, predominantly among black women and the youth, Numsa said.