Whose Constitution is it?

The Afternoon Drive show had a special panel discussion, looking at South Africa's Constitution in commemoration of 20 years of the Constitution and 22 years since the first democratic elections.

Xolani Gwala opened the debate by speaking to the two giants involved in the development of the Constitution adopted in 1996, Justice Albie Sachs, former Constitutional Court judge, and Roelf Meyer Former Minister of Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs.

Both Meyer and Sachs believe that the Constitution protects all South Africans.

This is a Constitution for transformation and change, and that gave people the weapons and instruments to constitutionally bring about improvement in the lives of the people. I would keep the Constitution as is, but I would encourage people not to abuse it, but to use it and take advantage of rights and the freedoms that the Constitution has given them to bring about the change that they want.

Justice Albie Sachs, former Constitutional Court judge

The principle of equality runs right through the Constitution. It’s a Constitution for change and achieving democracy.

Justice Albie Sachs, former Constitutional Court judge

The main foundation of our Constitution is the fact that we respect individual rights on an equal basis for all South Africans. And that should be the departure point that we keep in mind all the time, because sometimes in recent debates the message of our Constitution get lost.

Roelf Meyer, former minister of Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs

It’s not the Constitution that’s at fault, I think it’s rather a question of how we have succeeded in making the progress.

Roelf Meyer, former minister of Constitutional Development and Provincial Affairs

Gwala asked Prof Jackie Dugard, of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, if the Constitution is fair in giving both the former oppressor and oppressed the same rights and privileges. He also asked whether all people have fair and equal access to the Constitutional Court.

It’s very important to note that Section 9 of the Constitution deals with equality. There you have a free open highway for the government to pursue whatever kind of affirmative action policies it wants to, in order to try to put previously disadvantaged people on an equal footing. Then again, we come to the extent that hasn’t happened, we can’t blame the Constitution.

Prof Jackie Dugard, of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution

Many people are ground down by poverty and the disadvantaged simply don’t try to engage their rights through the courts. But, why? They should do that? Why not through politics?

Prof Jackie Dugard, of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution

Thami Pooe, of the Wits Students Representative Council, argued that it's not that the students are complaining about the Constitution, but how people still can't access their constitutional rights.

Part of the reasons why we have movements such Fees Must Fall and Rhodes Must Fall is addressing the fact that universities after 1994 still behaved the same way they behave during apartheid.

Thami Pooe, Wits SRC

Listen to the debate below...

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Grieving Ekurhuleni mother thankful for support during mortuary ordeal

Grieving Ekurhuleni mother thankful for support during mortuary ordeal

Colleen Duister buried her child last week Friday and the family is starting to pick up the pieces after the mortuary strike saga.

Cape NGOs gather to tackle WC child murders

Cape NGOs gather to tackle WC child murders

Several Western Cape nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) met on Friday in an effort to discuss solutions to child murders.

Murder accused Sandile Mantsoe claims Karabo Mokoena took her own life

Murder accused Sandile Mantsoe claims Karabo Mokoena took her own life

Karabo Mokoena's alleged killer painted himself as the victim in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court, reports Hitekani Magwedze.

EFF will go back to court if Mbete makes irrational decision on secret ballot

EFF will go back to court if Mbete makes irrational decision on secret ballot

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says opposition parties will not accept an open ballot without strong justification from Mbete.

Holomisa: ANC mistaken, it did not win secret ballot ruling

Holomisa: ANC mistaken, it did not win secret ballot ruling

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says that Baleka Mbete's arrogance and blind loyalty to the ANC and Zuma has put them in this mess.

WATCH: ConCourt gave MPs much-needed lecture about their obligations, says Redi

WATCH: ConCourt gave MPs much-needed lecture about their obligations, says Redi

Presenter Redi Tlhabi says it's disconcerting that Baleka Mbete doesn't understand the rules of Parliament and laws of her job.

Popular articles
Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says her department will respond to all Zimbabweans under special dispensation.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Meet self-made millionaire (net worth – R400m!) property mogul Sisa Ngebulana

Meet self-made millionaire (net worth – R400m!) property mogul Sisa Ngebulana

How did Ngebulana build his empire? The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed him for his weekly “ShapeShifter” feature.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.

5 advantages of leasing instead of owning a car (lower monthly payments!)

5 advantages of leasing instead of owning a car (lower monthly payments!)

Want (or need) a new car? Dale Scorer (a wealth manager at AlphaWealth) reckons you should consider leasing.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?