Constitution 'not written in stone'

2012-03-29 08:27

Johannesburg - South Africans should never fear changes and amendments to the Constitution, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said on Wednesday.

"Cyril Ramaphosa made a very important point the other day. He said the Constitution did not come down from Table Mountain on stone tablets, it was written by men and women, and we are some of them," he said.

"We have changed and amended the Constitution 17 times already, and we will continue to amend it because it is a living document - never fear that."

Manuel was speaking at a Centre for Small Business Development meeting in Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg.

On Monday, the Democratic Alliance Youth staged a sit-in at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, and unveiled a poster of the Constitution being burnt.

DA Youth leader Makashule Gana said the sit-in and poster highlighted current threats posed to the Constitution.

"This poster makes two points. The first is that there is a clear and pressing threat posed to numerous elements of the Constitution and the second is that, in the DA's future, the Constitution will reign supreme as the ultimate law. There will be no person or body above that law."

Gana said threats to the Constitution were "starkly illustrated" by a recent ANC policy document.

"This document, which proposes a number of constitutional amendments, represents the largest assault on the Constitution witnessed in our country to date," Gana claimed.

  • Sunette - 2012-03-29 08:38

    Currently in SA, the only written in Stone, is the fact that we will soon be another failed African State under the current Regime! Nothing stands fast against the total onslaught of the ANC! Not the Constitution. Not the Courts. Not Policing. Not Healthcare. Not Education. Not Infrastructure. ...the list is endless! It is heartbreaking!

      Moyo - 2012-03-29 09:08


      Sunette - 2012-03-29 09:16

      Leo, please explain the concept of "going back" to a place that I've never been to to start with!

      christian.helberg - 2012-03-29 09:19

      @Leo, do you agree to the changes that the anc want to make to our constitution? If so, so you dont mind loosing some of you human rights? dont be a puppet, i dare you to think for yourself.

      Philip - 2012-03-29 09:27


      channing.froom - 2012-03-29 09:30

      @MOYO because the majorities of the people are uneducated and angry. would you leave a bunch of angry children in your house alone with no one looking after them ? NO i didnt thinks so because they will destroy everything. The ANC purposely destroying the level of education to stay in power ! they know if thier followers were more educated they would vote for the DA !

      Mark - 2012-03-29 09:32

      Rather ignore Leo, he's a few neurons short of a cerebral cortex to make a stupid comment like that. Judging by his profile picture he's been hit one too many times in the head...

      mfudzi.wamambo - 2012-03-29 10:45

      Remember Sunette that colonization did not even need a constitution to be effected and also when the constitution was written it clearly stated that it can be ammended provided certain conditions are met. so what is this fear all about when the constitution itself provides for its own ammendment?

      George - 2012-05-03 17:08

      Trust me, I'm a politician!

  • NrGx - 2012-03-29 08:39

    I dont think we "fear" the constitution, we fear what the anc will do to the constitution. We know, from current and past experience, that the anc have nothing but their greed on their agenda, which is why WE APPOSE the changing of the constitution by a gang of thieves.

      Philip - 2012-03-29 09:27


      zaatheist - 2012-03-29 12:49

      @Phillip SsssssssssssssssssssH! No shouting please.

      NrGx - 2012-03-29 13:41

      @Phillip - judging from your posts here, I guess my only response would be to....HEED YOUR OWN ADVICE

  • Andres - 2012-03-29 08:42

    The "Second Transition" document doing the rounds does not call for small, cosmetic amendments, it calls for sweeping changes; constitutions are living documents, but changes to them are slow, methodical and pragmatic, not at ANY ruling party's whim (whether ANC, DA, COPE, NAT whomever). Trevor, I had so much respect for you, when did you become a "Yes Man" to these guys? You're more intelligent than this nonsense. How do you expect the layman to trust the ruling party with a constitutional amendment, when they want to ram through a Secrecy Bill, when the run roughshod over citizenry with eTolling, when they support SADTU keeping our children stupid and unemployable and when they have corruption hanging over their heads like an axe. How, tell us how, can we trust them???!!!

      Sale%c3%a9 - 2012-03-29 21:23

      @annman, brilliant point on changes to the constitution, but I think your argument on that point does not go far enough. It is not about the speed of the changes, or the number of the changes or the party at whose behest the changes are being made. It is about the nature of the changes. If the changes are "pragmatic", as you say, then the changes are good. This is the one and only test. To apply the test, you need to know what the changes are. Not who introduces them. This is the kind of maturity that makes democracy stronger. Dealing with the argument (proposed changes) and not the man (ANC).

  • Bloodstone - 2012-03-29 08:46

    That was exactly Mugabe's words in 1987 when he changed the constitution and appointed himself as President (he used to be Prime Minister)ZANU(PF) has continued to change Zimbabwe's Constitution until al the fat cats were happy and the voters were a non-entity in their own country. Beware SA, beware...

  • sachasea - 2012-03-29 08:49

    "South Africans should never fear changes and amendments to the Constitution" - are you for real Trevor?!!! Do you think we've just come off of a banana boat? Welcome to the Banana Republic.

  • wesleywt - 2012-03-29 08:51

    We should fear changes especially those that give the ruling party more power.

      Leo - 2012-03-29 09:11

      Wesley, The ruling party must have more power..whr are you 4rm? The problem with the current constitution is tht it gives power to greedy minorities..Is tht why you talking non-sense?

      Felix - 2012-03-29 10:11

      Eish but you funny hey Leo, Tsek.

      Loo - 2012-03-29 10:53

      I agree wesleywt ... Oh and please pass this Leo dude a panado .. it must be difficult sitting in school with a headache. I mean he must still fight in the "struggle" after school it seems.

  • Templeton - 2012-03-29 08:51

    With Zuma incharge anything is possible.

      mfudzi.wamambo - 2012-03-29 10:47

      In fact everything must of necessity, be possible except going back to Afrikaaner rule!

      Andres - 2012-03-29 11:56

      @Mfundzi: The constitution does not allow SA to go back to minority rule. Learn about our constitution and how it protects us all from tyranny.

  • Elkita - 2012-03-29 08:55

    We do fear everything the ANC touches.We do not trust them one bit.Not even you Trevor,you are ANC.

      jason.nel3 - 2012-03-29 11:40

      and yes Leo & Mfudzi, along with your white brothers, coloured cousins, yellow friends...You too one day will be paying R50 000 000 for a loaf of bread like our distant relatives...Zimbabwe!

  • Dave - 2012-03-29 08:57

    And anyone who thought Manual was any different from another other ANC official, think again please....all the same

      sachasea - 2012-03-29 09:00

      Exactly Dave, I'll readily admit that I used to hold out hope that he was one of the good guys in the ANC, but it has now become clear to me that he is just another dodgy comrade with a huge question mark over his head. Do not trust him.

      Philip - 2012-03-29 09:27


      Loo - 2012-03-29 10:56

      Dave, money talks mate. He's protecting his salary. Last time he tried to make a stand he almost lost his job. We must realize, politicians are there for the money ,, definitely not for the future of the country. The last person we saw having the future of the country at heart is Mandela. Sadly I believe we wont see it again in my lifetime.

  • schalk.mattheys - 2012-03-29 08:59

    When a politician in Africa tells you not to be afriad, its time to be terrified! Really looks like history teaches these guys nothing...

  • Glyn - 2012-03-29 08:59

    Wrong! The Constitution IS cast in stone! It should NOT BE MESSED WITH! For a motley crew of corrupt, uneducated crooks to change the Constitution just because they have the votes of idiots is not acceptable. The anc is playing with fire and they will be judged as the biggest blunderers in the history of the world! Vote DA! For sanity!

      Tony Lapson - 2012-03-29 09:53

      @moyo because the people don't know anything about the constitution. I bet that not even you know what is being changed and how it will affect everyone. But that doesn't matter, it's all about supporting blindly.

  • Loo - 2012-03-29 08:59

    FRIENDS, fear the day when the constitution becomes a political tool. What happened to referendums when HUGE changes are proposed to the constitution. And NEWSFLASH to politicians, the majority that vote for the ANC (Im not one of them) definitely do not agree with your current decisions .. :: Of course they know that, hence no referendum called :::

  • olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 09:18

    that's true, our constitution is not written on a stone.i think is high time we amend and change some of it,especially the land issue.ANC SOLD AS DURING THE CODESA ERA,IS HIGH TIME THEY RECTIFY THAT MISTAKE.MAYBE JST MAYBE BLACKS AND WHITES CAN LIVE IN HARMONY BUT ONLY AFTER LAND RE_DISTRIBUTION

      Sunette - 2012-03-29 09:21

      Olerilwe...NEWSFLASH! The Government already OWNS most of the land!!! They just have NO intention of giving it to the people!

      Andres - 2012-03-29 09:29

      They'll redistribute it to their party cadres, not you, your friends, your family. All politicians want power, not redress. Redress is something they use to play with your mind to keep you making that X next to their name to keep them in power. People need education and jobs, not land. The youth want careers not cows!

      olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 09:39

      do u really lives in south africa?i don't think so.if u're living in south africa you should b knowing that majority of the land are in the hands of the manority.let's not be blind by the colour of our skin the land issue is a real time bomb if not carefully handle it will explode and cause a big mess.

      olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 09:39

      do u really lives in south africa?i don't think so.if u're living in south africa you should b knowing that majority of the land are in the hands of the manority.let's not be blind by the colour of our skin the land issue is a real time bomb if not carefully handle it will explode and cause a big mess.

      olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 09:50

      annman how sure are you about your story?don't let hatred pull you by your according to you the land issue is just a joke?the manority must enjoy having 75% of the land?black people are not entitle to have back what was stolen 4rm them?or do u believe in the say that only war will solve this?

      olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 09:51

      annman how sure are you about your story?don't let hatred pull you by your according to you the land issue is just a joke?the manority must enjoy having 75% of the land?black people are not entitle to have back what was stolen 4rm them?or do u believe in the say that only war will solve this?

      Loo - 2012-03-29 09:52

      Ok lol... lets look at the land already re-distributed. Dude ,, those "farms" went from economical units to desolate pieces of land with starving "owners" again seeking govt help to eat. I know this, I've seen it many times.

      Felix - 2012-03-29 10:20

      Yes guys, lets not be blinded by the colour of skin while I b!tch about the colour of yours. Grow up olerilwe, don't believe that bull propaganda spread by lazy thieves, your fear and jealousy of whites is the only reason we have this incompetent government. If they had sorted out education right off the bat we would already be seeing the good results but alas they were smart and lowered the standards to produce voting fodder instead.

      olerilwe.mosiane - 2012-03-29 10:39

      felix can you practise what you preach?and don't try and put education on will u feel when you and your child are force to learn some1's language who don't give a damn about your own afrikaaners you were and stil priviledge to be taught with your own language from grade r to varsity bt now you all white skin people you think you are smart education wise

      Kent - 2012-03-29 11:54

      @ mfudzi.wamambo. I like your nose but not your comment.

      Felix - 2012-03-29 11:57

      I'm English chop, I only arrived in SA in 1989 from Botswana born n bred. Oh and that's how I feel now (minus the kid) but I enjoy trying to learn isiZulu to communicate with my fellow community members. I wasn't the one preaching. Once again grow up.

      Andres - 2012-03-29 11:58

      Unfortunately, doesn't seem you really took in a word I said. Thinking with emotion and not with logic is always going to have a moody outcome. If you vote with emotion, you'll get a moody government... oh wait, we have a moody government.

  • christian.helberg - 2012-03-29 09:30

    when changes to the constitution take away the people's human rights, try and prolong the rulling parties reign, try and destroy democracy, allow the government to hide information from it's citizens, then yes, it should be feared and denouced. Trev, you were great at being the finance minister, but lets face it, you have no clue about what you are talking about now. ANC, you destroy everything that you touch, the changes you want to make even go against the freedom charter.

  • orapeleng.mike - 2012-03-29 09:33


      Loo - 2012-03-29 09:40

      Dude ... before you try and make sensible comments ( Which you obviously can't do) ... Don't type and spell like Malema, I mean ,, LOL ,, you really want us to take you seriously. Before you insist on becoming the new CEO of Anglo American ,,, work on the basics like erm let's see ... Grammar ??

      Tony Lapson - 2012-03-29 10:05

      Wow, I don't even know what to say. Just blurt your mouth without knowing facts?

      Felix - 2012-03-29 10:23

      Why don't you go to Zim? Everything you are looking for is there, trust me.

  • sonjajordaan1 - 2012-03-29 09:36

    A Constitution is there to serve the people, not the Government. Please stop your onslaught on this land and it's people. The people of SA has put you in power, and they can, and will, take you out of power.

  • Loo - 2012-03-29 10:30

    Olirilwe, number One : Yeah lot of good zimbabwean redistribution helped. And second : Having Migrated from North-Africa, are YOU going to give back the land taken from the Koi-san (They were here first btw) as well ??? Get real dude. get the facts and rather look at what is better for the future of a united country. And let me give you another fact. 50 million are fed by only around 60 000 registered farmers (black and white btw). Do the maths and see whether we can afford another zimambwe and stop making comments while eating a boerewors roll.

      Felix - 2012-03-29 12:06

      @Olestupido, you gonna be claiming whites stole your airliners soon. Want some vinegar and salt for that GIANT chip on your shoulder?

      Bloodstone - 2012-03-29 12:59

      @ olerilwe.mosiane. Your third sentence says it all: the history was WRITTEN, such a much better way to capture events factually compared to history learned from verbal accounts of bravery told around camp fires then retold from generation to generation as historical fact

  • Sean - 2012-03-29 11:29

    The constitution may not be written in stone but it is also not there to be changed every time some corrupt scumbag needs to keep himself out of jail.

      Nanathi - 2012-04-01 09:23

      Corrupt scumbag r europeans/africans they r/nt here 4 a good reason THIEVES wateva u possess is nt yours

  • tumelo.theka - 2012-03-29 11:43

    I strongly agree but let's hope that this amendments will not harm the citizens of South Africa.

  • jason.nel3 - 2012-03-29 11:54

    My Theory is that people that are not effected by what the ANC do or are busy doing is purely because they don't pay tax & rely on the empty promises & lies they they feed the uneducated masses they control. People with a bad case of illiteracy (not naming names cause they blinded by fear or hate & that the lack of an ANC outfit will undoubtedly be replaced by the AWB)This can only be blamed by the ANC as they fear the loss of control & special privileges given to themselves. As for the land re-distribution, be productive in any speech you think you can share with fellow South Africans, if you want land, try and earn it by being able to sign for it on the dotted line, rather than a simple X

      Nanathi - 2012-04-01 09:17

      U don't know d meaning of d word lies,where were u during d past 30yrs m sure u only came here after 1994 dts y u hv such a BIG mouth u descendant of liars .

  • Ron - 2012-03-29 12:23

    The Constitution belongs to the People - not the government or the ANC! It is designed to protect the People from dictatorships, abuse of power, government tyranny, etc., and can only be changed by the People - not the government. The ANC has no mandate to change it!

  • rikus1980 - 2012-03-29 20:05

    Is it only me or does nobody remember that th dumb anc does not have 2/3 majority hence can change ANYThing on the constitution... Why do you all go on about it????

      Nanathi - 2012-04-01 09:10

      Neva call our liberation movement dum bcz it d only party dt hs brought n true freedom of expression nw u r exercising dt against d anc,we wl change it n shape it hw w lyk,w r gorverning our fathers land wt o wtout 2/3rds n w r still going 2 b in-charge till yo skeleton rot.

  • George - 2012-05-03 17:06

    The danger is that by changing the constitution the ruling elites will remove any allegiance to SA from the abused minority. We may then find just cause for civil war and the ANC will then have to fight for what they were so generously given on the understanding the country would be a well governed, non-racist, just society. It is by no means certain they are in any fit state to win. The losers of course will be the whole world. Think again.

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