Monday, November 27, 2006

ANC more important than the Constitution?

Mr Jacob Zuma is today reported in Die Burger as saying that the ANC is more important than even the Constitution and that ANC members should not use the Constitution to attack each other.

If this is accurately reported, it is the final proof that Mr Zuma really is not fit to become the President of South Africa. In fact, I think anyone who genuinely believes that his or her organisation is more important than the Constitution (and can therefore be disregarded when dealing with organisation members) should not hold any public office in South Africa.

I would not even want such a person to be given an estate’s agent’s licence.

No wonder Mr. Zuma is in trouble with the law. If one thinks one’s own organisation is above the highest law of the land, it should not come as a surprise to find oneself of the wrong side of the criminal law.

Section 83 of the Constitution states that the President must “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic”. If Mr Zuma were t be elected President will he always uphold, defend and respect the Constitution – or only when it does not hurt or affect members of the ANC?

Maybe Mr. Zuma was misquoted.

Maybe he did not mean to undermine the basic tenets of the Rule of Law, a principle that states at the very least that no one or no institution is above the law. Maybe he only meant that while the ANC members must always obey the Constitution and other legal rules they must love the ANC more than the Constitution and the law.

But even then I would say that it is irresponsible (and very un-statesmanlike) to tell supporters that your party is more important than the Constitution. It undermines respect for that Constitution and sends a signal that the party is above the law.

This is not a signal we want to send to councillors who sit on tender committees and must decide whether to award the tender to their ANC friend or to the most deserving applicant.


Anonymous said...

Pierre shouldn't we first consult the speech before making on any hasty decisions, as we all know what our media is capable of.If Die Burger is right I would agree with you that if and only if he said so, than I would question him for the position of Presidency.

Pierre de Vos said...

Apparently the speech was delivered in Zulu. The reporter for Die Burger is Afrikaans, so there might well be room for confusion. But I happen to know the reporter and know she is quite careful and fair. But point taken: that is why I was careful to phrase my comments in such a way as to leave open the possibility that Mr Zuma was misquoted. At the same time, it does not seem far fetched that he would have said such a thing, given previous utterances about showers and kanga's and sissies to be knocked out....

Anonymous said...

it appears to me that pierre has lost objectivity when it comes to Zuma.As a proffessor I think he should not let his prejudices cloud his judgements, if in anyway he has a right to make any.He seems to be trusting the afrikaans speaking journalist like a child does to a parent .Could it be because the journalist is white ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the principle that Pierre has put forth: any person aspiring for high office in a constitutional democracy like the Republic of South Africa and still believes that his or her organisation (be it a church, stokvel, political party or soccer club) is more important than the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is not fit for such high office. As to what Mr Zuma said or did not say, I do not know. I would like to know though...

It is with concern that I read the last part of the contribution by Anonymous posted at 10:03AM. It is very sad that seemingly in our society one can rarely have robust debate between people of different races without the issue of race raising its head.

In regard to the 'Die Burger' journalist, is it not possible that Pierre trust the journalist simply because, as he (Pierre) says in one of his posts, he knows the journalist as being careful and fair, finish and klaar?

By the way, I am a black man. However, I do not automatically support views from a black person simply because they emanate from a black person nor do I automatically disregard views from a white person simply because they emannate from a white person.After all, black and white (and lest anyone feels left out, coloured, Indian etc too) are equally capable of being stupid and/or harbouring 'stupid' views. (And I accept that I may be demonstrating my stupidity right now!)

Pierre de Vos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pierre de Vos said...

Thanks for the last comment. I responded to this in a way in the post of Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Well said Pierre.

Zuma has shown himself to be a person who relies on his charm rather than his understanding of the technicalities of any situation. It is now a matter of record that, when he was in charge of our national Aids initiative, he knew nothing about Aids. When in charge of the movement for the ‘moral regeneration’ of our nation and the moral mindset of about 40 million people, he did not seem to care or understand that it is wrong to commit adultery, and with a woman young enough to be his daughter. He certainly does not understand finances as his personal finances is and has been in a mess for a long, long time, so much so that the taxpayer had to bail him out with R 10 million of our hard-earned money. I could go on and on but, given his previous record, it is highly unlikely that he understands the technicalities of the Constitution and/or of the legalities related to or emanating from, the Constitution.

No, amusing and charming he might be but, as President, he would be extremely dangerous to the welfare off the nation and its 48 million people.