Editorial: King, you are not supreme

2018-07-08 10:06

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The founding provisions of the Constitution tell us that: “The Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the following values and the Constitution is the supreme law of the republic.”

They tell us that the president is the head of state and head of the national executive, and “must uphold, defend and respect the Constitution”, as well as promote “the unity of the nation and that which will advance the republic”.

Being an inclusive Constitution that recognises that this is an African country, it also explicitly recognises the “institution, status and role of traditional leadership”, but adds that this is “subject to the Constitution”.

The good book also bestows “a common South African citizenship” on all who are entitled to it and says that “all citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship”.

A copy of this good book should be delivered to Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, so that the man who lives there, King Goodwill Zwelithini, can familiarise himself with its contents and hopefully embrace them.

The good book would tell King Zwelithini that the supremacy of the Constitution applies to even him and that this is a “democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law”.

He would know that even though he and some of his worshippers believe he is above the Constitution, he is, as a citizen of this republic, subservient to the document and that his role and powers are determined by it. Zwelithini would also know that the people of his kingdom are entitled to the same rights as other South African citizens and that he has no right to subject them to a different kind of citizenship via the Ingonyama Trust.

He would know that in this country, where government is based “on the will of the people”, he cannot threaten a democratically elected government.

The incendiary and secessionist noises coming from King Zwelithini and his allies pose a challenge to another individual – President Cyril Ramaphosa, who must defend and protect the unity of this nation. He must lead South Africa in telling them that this is a unitary, constitutional state and that no amount of war talk will cow adherents of democracy.

Read more on:    constitution
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