To late the Constitution?

2014-01-03 07:31

Is the Constitution a shield or a sword? Or is it both? There is no simple answer to these questions.

As a shield alone, it protects everyone from abhorrent conduct and action on the part of government and private individuals. As a sword alone it rids us of past conduct, like separate development etc through laws designed to that effect. As both a shield and a sword it serves as a template or a blue print of the society we all wish to subsist in.

Germane to the foregoing is the abhorrent conduct, mostly unpublished, on the part of authorities that are supposed to execute the constitutional mandate.

So when a minuscule number of our otherwise brave men and women in blue act disconcertingly at odds with their code of conduct as well as the enshrining values, the ethos and the spirit inherent in our Constitution,an editorial that surfaced in a nationally circulating newspaper headlined " Predatory Police" (Mercury 2.1.2014) is a stinging indictment that government and civil society have failed to understand and articulate what it entails living in a constitutional democracy.

We as civil society fail when all we do is whinge.

This is changing,I concede but its our apathy that is going to enslave us and entrench those who desecrate the principle of rule of law deeper in the crevices of history.

Its fitting that a high profile public figure's (Tito Mboweni) son was the latest victim of xenophobia which supports my thesis for the need, as I had consistently articulated in this forum and the other social media sites some times ago, for all of us though the printed, social and electronic media to consolidate and build on the principles enshrined in our Constitution.

An editorial or two and concerns expressed through letters to editors, or through gratuitous op-ed columns are not enough. If anything they're like flickering candles in the daily stormy existence we refer to as life in transition.

WE NEED TO BECOME ACTIVE CITIZENS. WE MUST TAKE TO THE PUBLIC STAGE AND USE PLATFORMS SUCH AS SOCIAL MEDIA SITES AS WELL AS ENGAGE WITH OUR PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES AND MEMBERS OF GOVERNMENT DIRECTLY TO MAKE OUR CONCERNS AND VOICES COUNT.

In a judgment handed down by the Cape High Court in December 2013, that court in awarding damages for wrongful arrest and detention alluded to the "predatory" conduct which shames us all and which, act by act, reduces our constitution to just another piece of paper hardly worth the ink that stains it.

WE ARE ENJOINED IN OUR BILL OF RIGHTS TO STOP THIS ROT.FREEDOM,EQUALITY AND HUMAN DIGNITY ARE NOT ABSTRACT VALUES FILLING SPACE IN OUR CONSTITUTION.SO.......

No excuses.We have seen and witnessed what xenophobia has done and is still doing to all those who seek sanctuary in South Africa.

We must act in concert with government and civil society in consolidating on the values and the ethos underpinning our constitutional democracy, now 20 years old, for its tensile strength lies in how we treat one another especially the weak and the disadvantaged amongst us.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

follow me @jazlaw24

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