Defending the Constitution

Idasa has endorsed the following statement, drafted by Kader Asmal. The SA Constitution is only as strong as the ability of ordinary citizens to use it. Words such as these are an important part of making a Constitution a living document, but words alone are not enough.

We need to be thinking about this question – in our work, how do we play our part in defending the aspirations of the Constitution? Share your thoughts here …

DECLARATION Against the injunction to kill and in defence of the Constitution we must live for We, the undersigned, take note of recent threats to kill uttered by a youth leader and a trade union federation official in the context of cases presently before the Constitutional Court. We abhor and reject such intimidatory and threatening tactics in a constitutional democracy such as South Africa. Just as we condemn the anti-democratic and violent practices in Zimbabwe, we must condemn South African leaders who threaten to kill to achieve political objectives. In a country struggling to overcome violent crime, leaders who threaten to kill, or advocate such behaviour for personal and political ends, are reckless and abusive of our constitutional order. The Constitution of our country provides for the peaceful resolution of disputes and for respect for an independent judiciary. The laws of the country forbid incitement to violence. Inflammatory statements are intolerable. They are a precursor to further lawlessness. All agencies of state must respond to these threats with the full force of the law and organisations associated with inflammatory leaders must discipline them. Our Constitution is not a document only to be defended and protected by the judges of the Constitutional Court. This significant moment in our history requires that all of us become activists in the service of our Constitution. Each of us must act as a steward, if not as an owner. As citizens and friends of South Africa, in rejecting these inflammatory and dangerous attacks on the Constitution, we do not have to lay down our lives. We must live in defence of the Constitution, of its values and principles.

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One Response

  1. I could not agree more. Intimidation and violence are strangling democracy within inches of its life. I support this draft 100%.

    Any call to kill is one of the most despicable assaults on the Constitution and runs contrary to what all South Africans should aspire to be – rights-conscious and mutually respectful. Our right to life and dignity are not limited rights, no matter our past or our colour/beliefs/language/personal democratic aspirations, and only thugs would venture to do so for their selfish personal ends.
    The demagogues, social role models and trash talkers should mind their language.

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