Constitution was built on trust - Pityana

2014-12-04 20:26
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - South Africa's Constitution was built on checks and balances, and most importantly, trust in the president, Professor Barney Pityana said on Thursday.

"The way in which the Constitution of South Africa was crafted was around checks and balances but also a huge amount of trust in the institution of the president and the chief justice."

Pityana was speaking at a "State of Democracy debate" at the Constitutional Hill in Braamfontein.

He said a lot of the powers given to the president were based on the kind of leader the country envisioned it would have.

"A president who would stand above the fray... and I don't think at the time we ever imagined we would have a president like the one we have today.

"It could never have occurred to us that we would have a president who would use state resources to upgrade his own home," Pityana said.

He said South Africans deserved the political leaders they had because they had voted for them.

"We have the leaders and politicians we deserve. It is within us to remove them if they no longer serve the purposes we had for them," he said.

Founding member of the Scorpions Dr Ruben Richards was also part of the debate.

He said the country did have a few "brave and courageous" leaders such as Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

"We have sufficient [institutions for] checks and balances but they require brave leaders.

"We just don't have the courage in the institutions."

He said people who had been appointed through connections were wary of biting the hand that fed them.

"You don't bite the hand that feeds you is a real thing," Richards said.


Read more on:    barney pityana  |  pretoria  |  politics

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