A Critique Of South Africa’s Constitution

South Africa’s Constitution is not critical in laying the foundation for a diverse, democratic and free Rainbow Nation. Our constitution is the supreme law that provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, sets out the rights and duties of its citizens and defines the structure of the government.

Chapter 2 of South Africa’s constitution consists of the bill of rights, namely the right to equality. Although the current constitution has been in effect since 1997, South africans still experience inequality, resulting in the destruction of our country’s diversity. In 2016, pupils at Pretoria Girls High School protested against the school’s code of conduct which allegedly instructs them to chemically straighten their hair as afros are not allowed. Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi as well as the mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga visited the school to hear one student say, “She instructed me to fix myself as if I was broken.” Lesufi states that another student was threatened for speaking isiXhosa with a friend. According to the pupils, Pretoria Girls High School has little tolerance for black South African languages. Racism is evident in the school’s culture but when complaints were raised, students were told that their focus on race and politics is the reason why there is no black student among the top 10 achievers. When Lesufi asked a student what that meant, she answered: “I think it means we are not smart.” In January of 2016, Penny Sparrow, a white estate agent from KwaZulu-Natal compared black people to monkeys on a post on social media. She states, “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New years Eve and new year’s day on to public beaches town etc obviously have no education…allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others…all I saw were black on black skins…from now I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys.” Xenophobic attacks struck Pretoria West in 2017. Residents looted a set the homes of 3 foreigners on fire. Another incident occurred later in 2017 where 10 foreigner’s houses were set on fire in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg. Police were forced to fire rubber bullets at about 300 South Africans and a police helicopter got involved. Therefore, the constitution does not lay the foundation for a diverse Rainbow Nation.

South Africa’s constitution doesn’t lay the foundation for democracy. In 2016, hundreds of marked ballot papers were found discarded outside an Independent Electoral Commission results centre in the Nelson Mandela Bay. IEC stated that the election results from the metro remain credible.

However, some people may believe that South Africa’s Constitution is critical in creating a diverse, democratic and free Rainbow Nation. Research from Daily Maverick in 2015 shows that the Nkandla report shows how former president Jacob Zuma stole our money for his R246 million home. He failed to uphold the constitution and was forced to pay back the money. Due to his corruption, a decision was taken and Zuma resigned. Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as South Africa’s new president. Democracy was maintained in South Africa due to the Constitution. Another incident is the current Zapiro incident. Zuma took Zapiro to court and wanted to sue him due to his cartoons. However, the constitution states that everyone has a freedom of expression. The constitution will protect Zapiro in this way. South Africa’s constitution is critical however the government fails to implement the laws adequately. Chapter 9 of the constitution Government fails to act on the recommendations. Chapter 9 of the constitution, “State Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy consist of the commission for gender equality. The international labor organization states that South Africa has the largest wage gap in the world. It is evident that the Constitution supports diversity and democracy but the problem lies in the government who don’t implement these laws.

Therefore, although our constitution can help create a diverse, democratic and free Rainbow Nation, due to people not respecting and following the Constitution, South Africa’s constitution does not lay the foundation for a diverse, democratic and free Rainbow Nation.