News24.com | Ronald Lamola | 25 years of constitutional democracy: We must inquire of those who assault the judiciary

We must preserve those among us guilty who include surrendered the need of the parents and our constitutional democracy at the altar of private construct and corruption, writes Ronald Lamola.


On Tuesday, we commemorated the 27th anniversary of Freedom Day. I contend that we is no longer going to celebrate our freedom with out having due regard to the democratic South Africa’s initiating certificates, our Constitution.

On 8 Also can 1996, President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as the chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly stood in entrance of the nation in Parliament, the keep he characterised our Constitution as the nation’s initiating certificates.

He went on to suppose, “This Constitution, with its Invoice of Rights, is a reflect of South African society. It reflects both the historical past from which we have got emerged, and the values we now cherish – human dignity, equality and freedom.

“It proclaims to the sphere that we’re a society committed to democracy, to the guideline of legislation and the protection of human rights.

“It proclaims to all South Africans, the landless, the homeless, the ladies, the workers and the adolescents of this country that their general wishes and aspirations topic ample to be incorporated in the country’s Constitution.

“It celebrates the richness of the range of cultures, religions and beliefs of South Africans, and affirms that every particular person belong as equals in our one nation.

“It commits the tell to respecting, to retaining, promoting and to relaxing the rights in the Invoice of Rights and acknowledges that it’s far no longer ample for the executive to merely chorus from violating folks’s rights.”

Foundation of society

These vivid words by President Ramaphosa are as main this day as they include been 25 years in the past. Our Constitution forms the muse of the society we want to be.

Equally, our forebears furthermore envisioned a free and democratic South Africa centred on constitutionalism and the regeneration of Africa.

In April 1906, one of many founding contributors of the African Nationwide Congress, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, addressing Columbia University in Contemporary York, mentioned the next: 

The brightest day is rising upon Africa. Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and considerable interval. By this term, regeneration, I want to be understood to point out the doorway of a new life, embracing the choice phases of a elevated, complex existence. The regeneration of Africa technique that a new enthralling civilisation is soon to be added to the sphere.

On this hump of democracy, we preserve no illusions that the work required to reconstruct and manufacture a nation that’s united in its diversity and tackle deep socio-economic equality need radical impetus.

As we celebrate our 25th twelve months of constitutionalism, we’re increasingly coming to phrases with the reality that society does no longer consist merely of the legislation or the tell. It furthermore has a extra informal facet, created from its cultural institutions, conventions, honest principles and honest sanctions. For society to totally flourish, it goes to aloof be intellectual in its informal as effectively as its formal facets.

In other words, for us to give good build to our constitutional guarantees, we must attach sure that the Constitution permeates all spheres of society. As we critical Freedom Day, it became once abundantly definite that the Constitution became once no longer entrenched in all sectors of society. Place apart otherwise, our economy is yet to be transformed, and none of us can suppose it’s broadly handbook of our various nation.

READ | Mpumelelo Mkhabela: Assaults on our constitutional democracy: 4 systems that are being ragged

We ought to aloof be equally frank and preserve those among us guilty who include surrendered the need of the parents and our constitutional democracy at the altar of private construct and corruption. One can’t support the need of the parents and line your pockets at the identical time. This we have got considered no longer too long in the past the keep the interior most features of those entrusted with leadership positions in various ranges succeeded at the expense of tell institutions. 

In some draw, our tell institutions misplaced the capacity to attach correct on the guarantees of the Constitution.

It’s exactly this behaviour that worn president Thabo Mbeki warned about usually to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution. He mentioned:

Nowhere does the Constitution we celebrate provide that those who support in executive are accepted to abuse their vitality to undermine the unbiased to real the effectively-being of the parents of the Republic. Nowhere does it relate that any public handbook or decent serves in any organ of tell in disclose to misuse tell vitality to enrich themselves or gather any advantages that can presumably maybe otherwise no longer be due to them in line with legislation.

Alternatively, for the length of this intelligent interval in our new democracy, our initiating certificates came to elucidate who we certainly are. Many years from this day, future generations will verify that our judiciary stood as a final line of defence when our democracy became once supplied at the altar of corruption.

As a nation, we want to fastidiously inquire of those among us who assault the judiciary when referred to as upon to answer to charges of corruption most current in opposition to them by legislation enforcement businesses. Are we no longer confronted with a new form of adventurism, the keep some among us agree with they’ll are attempting to overthrow the tell or take hold of from the tell with absolute impunity? Are these no longer the identical those who build no longer want to face the penalties for his or her wrongdoings? Are they no longer attempting to discredit and delegitimise tell institutions and even attempting to flip society at big in opposition to the tell on myth of they include been caught? We must inquire of those folks intently and verify whether they’re going to no longer be the identical folks who can include derailed our democratic hump.

READ | Serjeant at the Bar: The ANC wishes to say that it’s committed to the Constitution

Let South Africans no longer be sidetracked by those who include refused the vivid counsel of Mme Charlotte Maxeke, who mentioned let us no longer be distracted by those who include refused to “abolish that spirit of self.”

We must reassert the core of our nation’s values

As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of our Constitution, the supreme legislation of the country, we must proceed to reassert the core of our nation’s values with out distress or favour. Our Constitution must proceed to breathe life into our freedoms in a tangible manner. Now bigger than ever, constitutionalism ought to aloof be our accurate lived experience.

This twelve months, through which our Constitution marks a quarter of a century in our lives, we are able to name upon sectors of society to detect themselves in it and safe in contact with on our collective consciousness to assess how to entrench it in our communities. Constitutionalism ought to aloof be the lived experience of the LGBTQI+ community.

We all must preserve the glory and lives of all our voters no topic their sexual orientation. As we critical Freedom Day, we did so with the reality that Lonwabo Jack and Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela weren’t afforded the intellectual to equality.

We hope that the most up-to-date litigation process in the Constitutional Court docket that is affecting the implementation of the Detest Crimes Invoice will seemingly be resolved within a cheap interval to enable us to include correct sure bet on some of its provisions. Regardless of this, South Africans must are living in a society the keep consciousness overrides compliance with the legislation.

We ought to aloof furthermore remind our pals and foes beyond our shores that our constitutional ethos transcends borders.

We are able to confront racism right here and in a distant places country; human rights know no sovereignty; to this cease, we are able to pursue justice the keep injustice prevails.

In remembrance of the heroines and heroes of our those who misplaced their lives in the strive in opposition to for freedom and democracy in South Africa, let all South Africans recommit themselves to the course of constitutionalism. Let constitutionalism reign, let freedom are living and would possibly maybe presumably maybe God bless South Africa and her folks.

– Ronald Lamola is the minister of justice and correctional services and products.

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