In a previous blog post "Dubula ibhunu --- (Kill the Boer song) A Nation in Trouble" I had taken the stance that South Africa was in serious trouble, as it was apparent that leadership had little understanding of the imperatives of a constitutional democracy and that the President continues to be very badly advised. [See -- http://coginito.blogspot.com/2011/09...ation-in.html]
That I was not wrong is now beyond question in terms of the following (per Pretoria News 28 Sep 2011).
To date, the media has taken the stance that this constitutional democracy "may" be under threat. No one should be confused any longer; it is not under threat; it is under attack; robust, aggressive attack; and the ANC Chief Whip has served notice that the Constitution will be scrapped to remove the doctrine of separation of powers.
ANC CHIEF Whip Mathole Motshekga fired a shot across the Constitutional Court’s bow warning the highest court in the land to stay out of the fight over the controversial Protection of Information Bill.
Speaking to Jeremy Maggs on the E.News channel Motshekga went on to say that the ANC would not countenance the court striking down the Bill once passed by the ANC in Parliament.
“If people are defeated in a political arena, they want to substitute the will of the people with the will of the judges. Then we must redefine our democracy and how we want to manage our country” he responded. “It is not for judges to decide for Parliament, because that would be a gross violation” he said.
It should be remembered that the President had previously said at a conference of judges that - “the powers of the courts cannot be superior to the powers resulting from the political and consequently administrative mandate resulting from popular democratic elections”.
As a former judge, I am able to say with considerable confidence that the Protection Of information Bill, in its current state, has very little chance of surviving a court challenge. The Constitution requires the very opposite of what the Bill is attempting. It insists that information be made available, not restricted.
So we are being given due notice that when the courts do their job and strike down the bill, wholly or in part, the ANC will not accept this and will scrap the constitution to rid it of the separation of powers.
In a nutshell, what the Chief Whip is saying is that the courts are not there to countermand the will of the majority party - - even if the majority is wrong. A good example is the issue of the death penalty. 84% of South Africans support the death penalty, but the courts ruled against this. The decision of the courts has been accepted even though it is completely against the will of most people, let alone the ANC!
So, at a stroke, we can see that the ANC wants to have a situation where IT has a prerogative to "pick and choose" which court decisions it will accept -- AND also an unfettered right to decide what is the law, what is the rule of law, what are human rights .. NOT the courts!
We should all understand that the very essence of a constitutional democracy, and the doctrine of separation powers, is to ensure that all human beings, even the very lowliest, are protected -- protected even against the will of the majority if necessary. It is often necessary. History has shown that the majority is often wrong. Just ask Socrates and Aristotle, persecuted for their brilliant minds of disagreement with the majority. .
The passion with which the ANC wants to be able to conceal information is extremely worrisome considering that nothing has happened, to date, that indicates a problem requiring a need for particular secrecy around State affairs.
What we need to understand very clearly is that, although the Bill has been reported as "anti media", it is actually about shutting up and gagging ordinary citizens. The media are making a fuss simply because they deal in selling information. But this is about dumping our right to free speech in very large measure. So you stand to be imprisoned for that sms, tweet, FB post or any statement made in whatever form - if some faceless bureaucrat has classified the info as secret, whether you know of such classification or not.
So, South Africans, Please Take Note!. This is called the tyranny of might is right!