Constitution deserves better leadership - Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says drafters never envisaged that someone like Jacob Zuma would be President

The Constitution deserves better leadership

As South Africa marks 20 years of democratic constitutionalism we must reflect on the type of society and leadership that was envisioned by the authors of one of the most progressive and liberal constitutions in the world.

The drafters of the highest law in the land envisioned honest and accountable leadership from not only the President but also the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court as well as other bodies, such as the Public Protector who derive their mandate and authority directly from the Constitution.

Our Constitution, both cognisant of the past and well aware of the country that needs to be built, eloquently and profoundly states in the preamble that “We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic…”

These words as powerful as they are, are only as good as those entrusted with and empowered by them. It is therefore a shame that President Jacob Zuma, who derives his authority from the Constitution, has been found to have undermined and violated that which he swore, before the people of South Africa, to protect, uphold and defend. The drafters of the highest law in the land never foresaw that such a compromised and corrupt individual would be entrusted with bringing the Constitution to life. In his time as Head of State, President Zuma has only worked in antithesis to the Constitution.

It is therefore incumbent upon us all, as we celebrate and mark 20-years of our Constitution that we reflect on the kind of society we want to build and the type of leadership that will be at the forefront of building this beautiful nation of ours.

The preamble to the Constitution further commits the nation’s leadership to “Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”. This is a project that the Democratic Alliance is committed to, and we remain the only Party to do so. The ANC and Jacob Zuma have abandoned the idea of serving the people, and now only serve themselves and a narrow political agenda that is marked by corruption, lawlessness and self-enrichment.

We must continue to advance the provisions of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, which talks about equality, human dignity, freedom of association, housing and other fundamental rights.

May we forever guard the sanctity of the Constitution and believe that we will change our country in order to ensure that we build a country for all its people based on the values of Freedom, Fairness, and Opportunity.

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, Leader of the DA, 10 December 2016