Praise for SA’s pro­gres­sive Con­sti­tu­tion

Cape Times - - INSIGHT - Ken­neth Meshoe

THE South African Con­sti­tu­tion is hailed by many as one of the most lib­eral and pro­gres­sive in the world to­day.

Com­pared to other con­sti­tu­tions, it is much more in­clu­sive – with clauses that are con­tro­ver­sial in some cir­cles, par­tic­u­larly among those who still up­hold con­ser­va­tive moral val­ues.

Even though the ACDP was the only po­lit­i­cal party to vote against the Con­sti­tu­tion in 1996, we fully sup­port our con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy and wish to give credit to those men and women who helped to sta­bilise a na­tion that was plagued by fear and un­cer­tainty about its future.

Two of the main rea­sons why the ACDP voted against the Con­sti­tu­tion was be­cause of its fail­ure to bal­ance hu­man rights with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and its pro­tec­tion of crim­i­nals while fail­ing to pro­tect in­no­cent un­born ba­bies.

As we cel­e­brate 20 years of our demo­cratic Con­sti­tu­tion, it gives me a great sense of plea­sure and ful­fil­ment to re­mem­ber that I was part of the his­toric process that pro­duced a Con­sti­tu­tion that af­forded me and my fel­low South Africans the many rights that we all en­joy to­day.

On this note, I would like to ac­knowl­edge and give credit to my for­mer col­league, Louis Green, who was a great and pas­sion­ate team mem­ber who rep­re­sented the ACDP well in var­i­ous sub com­mit­tees deal­ing with the Con­sti­tu­tion, in­clud­ing Theme Com­mit­tee 4, which dealt with the Bill of Rights.

Lastly, I am grate­ful to God that the ACDP suc­ceeded in per­suad­ing the ANC, in par­tic­u­lar, not to in­clude the words “sec­u­lar state” in our Con­sti­tu­tion.

Be­cause of the ACDP’s con­tri­bu­tion, we man­aged to in­clude in our Con­sti­tu­tion, Sec­tion 15(2) that says, and I quote: “re­li­gious ob­ser­vances may be con­ducted at state or stateaided in­sti­tu­tions”.

The re­sult of this Sec­tion 15(2) has en­abled thou­sands of churches across the coun­try to con­duct their ser­vices and other meet­ings in sta­te­owned build­ings.

South Africa is in­deed a devel­op­men­tal con­sti­tu­tional state and not a sec­u­lar state that some in­cor­rectly think it is; and we are ar­gu­ing against that.

There is no known sec­u­lar state in the world that has any ref­er­ences to God in their Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Pream­ble of our Con­sti­tu­tion con­cludes with the words, and I quote: May God pro­tect our peo­ple, Nkosi Sekelel’ iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso. God seën Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa. Mudz­imu fhatut­shedza Afu­rika. Hosi katek­isa Afrika. In­deed, the ACDP prays that God will bless all South Africans and pros­per all its beau­ti­ful, won­der­ful peo­ple.”

Meshoe is pres­i­dent of the ACDP

Pic­ture: SIMONE KLEY

NA­TIONAL PRIDE: South Africa has a Con­sti­tu­tion worth cel­e­brat­ing, says the writer.

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