Love South Africa; love its constitution

Posted by Raashida Khan on 15 November 2016 6:35 PM CAT

Roger Southall, Professor of Sociology at the University of Witwatersrand, in his article, ‘Eight years too late: Mbeki's ANC set a precedent of undermining the constitution*’, suggests that Thabo Mbeki, did our country and himself a great disservice when he accepted the ANC’s directive to be removed as president of the country. 

The constitution states clearly that only The National Assembly, a parliamentary body, can remove a president from office. By toeing the party line, and placing party (the ANC) over the constitution, he ‘missed an opportunity to assert the primacy of the country’s constitution.’ In hindsight, I submit that this probably set a precedent that in subsequent years allowed the constitution to be eroded.

Our constitution, in theory, is one of the most remarkable in the world, with its roots entrenched in the Freedom Charter. In spite of various judicial rulings and public protector findings, that the highest office of South Africa – the presidency - has undermined, or at the very least disrespected the constitution, no retribution is visible. President Jacob Zuma, has survived yet another impeachment bid, seemingly having endless political lives, if one considers the number of scandals, allegations and charges he has faced, from even before he took office, without censure.

I fear the continuous unchecked bashings of our constitution may leave us with a constitution not worth the paper it is written on, in no time. I, for one, refuse to stand by and watch this sorry state of affairs. In my opinion, this is the greatest threat to our constitution, along with decreasing independence of the judiciary and the press.

What can be done?

React. React positively and forcefully.

Answer calls by respected leaders and ANC stalwarts to join organisations like Save SA, and the like. At the very least, one can become active citizens and join thousands of others on - one of our online platforms that allow for collaboration and true engagement. We urge like-minded individuals and groups to join us here – the more of us there are, the louder our unified voice will be raised. We cannot stand by and allow this to happen, without even trying to stop it.


 * The Mail and Guardian (14.11.2016) (

Raashida Khan is Account Director at Indigo New Media and an active, passionate and positive South African.

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