'We all must find solutions to implement Constitution, after Sisulu dissed it'
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's comments about the Constitution and the African judiciary have drawn fierce criticism this week.
She wrote an opinion piece which included what Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo described as what is "probably the worst insult that has been levelled at the judiciary".
Sisulu spoke about “the most dangerous African today" being "the mentally colonised African”.
“When you put them in leadership positions or as interpreters of the law, they are worse than your oppressor."
Bruce Whitfield interviews Justice Edwin Cameron, former Constitutional Court judge.
Cameron describes the "impasse" caused by the furore as a debate about what we can and should do in the impasse the country finds itself in .
The one way to respond to it is racialise it and to blame the judiciary and the Constitution. The other is for each of us to take responsibility for the insufficient progress that we've made over the last 28 years, including Minister Sisulu who has been in government for 20 years and Parliament for nearly 28...Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
... and to figure out constructive, managerial, leadership, institutional, pragmatic solutions to implementing the Constitution... not to blame white people or insult black judges as having been zombified by white/Western thinking, and not to blame the Constitution.Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
[So] we have a way out of it. The question is whether we want to embrace that way out and move forward.Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
Making an effort is not really a South African pastime comments Whitfield, but Cameron disagrees.
He cites the example of activists and civil society fighting presidential Aids denialism decades ago.
And we had confrontation, eventually, before Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson... about ARV access, which the Treatment Action Campaign heroically won. Heroically because we've got a Constitution (the one derided by Minister Sisulu) and we have the rule of law (derided by Minister Sisulu), we've have brave activists... and we had brave judges, who Minister Sisulu is now implying are 'coconuts'...Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
The success of that ARV programme, a public-private partnership... is why I'm alive today.Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
All that is just to say we can get off our butts, we can devise an action plan - all of us whether we're activists, whether we're government bureaucrats, whether we're in the private sector... There is nothing that we cannot fix.Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
This applies to tackling corruption as well he says, providing we have the leadership.
Did Acting Chief Justice Zondo do the right thing when he engaged with Sisulu?
While he acknowledges that hindsight might suggest other ways of dealing with it, Cameron supports Zondo in this.
This was an unparalleled situation... a member of President Ramaphosa's Executive... dissing the Constitution... and insulting black judges.Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
I think it is about political power... and that moment on the Monday after Des van Rooyen was plucked from the backbenches of the ANC and made Minister of Finance... that moment when his two Gupta-assigned deployees walked into the Treasury as though they were in command...Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
It's about power and it's about who's going to get the loot. Are we going to make a decent effort over the next ten years or two decades to implement the Constitution or are we going to let Zuma-kind cronyism debilitate our country even further?Justice Edwin Cameron - Retired Constitutional Court judge
This is the debate that Minister Sisulu invites, concludes Cameron.
Listen to the retired ConCourt judge's insights below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'We all must find solutions to implement Constitution, after Sisulu dissed it'
Source : Eyewitness News