The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.
The FW de Klerk Foundation would like to congratulate Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on his 90th birthday today. He is one of the longest-serving members of Parliament and is one of the most consistent politicians our country has had in the last 40 years. His commitment to his people, his party and South Africa is well-known. Former President De Klerk has specifically thanked Prince Buthelezi and expressed his highest appreciation for the constructive relationship they have always had. This, even during the most trying of times during the transition to democracy more than 20 years ago. The Foundation wishes Prince Buthelezi health and happiness for the coming years.
Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
27 August 2018
Now that we know the ANC will support an amendment of section 25 to enable expropriation without compensation (EWC), the question is, what potential changes can be proposed? There are views that together, the ANC and the EFF will get a comfortable two-thirds majority, and be able to change section 25 “as they like”. There are others who believe that any change to section 25 will require not only a two-thirds majority but because property rights are so central to economic prosperity and the achievement of other individual rights such as dignity, any change to section 25 will require a 75% majority. Where lies the truth?
The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes today’s majority judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court regarding the position of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). It is further testament to the tenacious efforts to ensure the adherence to the Rule of Law by civil society, given that the application before the Court was launched by Corruption Watch, Freedom Under Law (FUL) and CASAC. The judgment, which comes five months after the matter was argued, brings finality to the question of whether Shaun Abrahams is rightfully in the office, given the unlawful departure of his predecessor, Mxolisi Nxasana.
The strongly-worded judgment in which former President Jacob Zuma is said to have abused his power in the unlawful removal of Nxasana perhaps reflects exasperation on the part of the Judiciary. Yet again, the courts are forced to intervene in a matter involving the abuse of power and political interference in State institutions.
President Ramaphosa’s late night statement of 31 July is now well-read and known. It has been criticised, lauded and discussed in detail. The issue of why the statement was delivered at that time, and whether there was a good reason to do it, despite the Parliamentary review process being ongoing, lies in the realm of political commentary. As a Foundation with a mission of protecting and promoting the Constitution, we must take the statement and its intention on face value and point out what its consequences are and could be. In the Foundation’s statement of 1 August we have already commented on the statement’s unacceptable procedure that undermined the parliamentary process and the independence of the SABC.
The FW de Klerk Foundation noted with grave concern the statement on expropriation without compensation (EWC), by ANC president Ramaphosa after the NEC Lekgotla last night. There are two main problems with the statement, procedurally and substantively.
Speaking as leader of a political party, he abused the platform of the national broadcaster to make a party-political announcement, as if it were an announcement as President of the country. This shows the same dangerous conflation of party and State as we have seen during the Zuma years. The statement also pre-empts the outcome and makes a mockery of the parliamentary process that is underway, as if the ANC is the only party in Parliament. The incidental reference to the “parliamentary process” does not hide the apparent disdain the majority party has for the Legislature and its processes. In addition, the announcement short-circuited the public hearings, thus rendering public participation in the legislative process obsolete. This means that any future amendments are open to a legal challenge on grounds of lack of procedural fairness.
The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes yesterday’s decision involving former Zimbabwean first lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, which was handed down by the Gauteng High Court. It is of concern that the decision makes apparent that the government of South Africa lacked the authority to either confer or grant immunity to Mugabe, in a bid to protect her against the allegations of wrongdoing. In doing so, the South African Government failed to protect its own citizen and further undermined the Constitution in unlawfully granting immunity to Mugabe.
As was the case in the Al Bashir matter, the South African government has shown that it lacks the political will and inclination to abide by the Rule of Law when faced with thorny political questions. This failure by the government to abide by the spirit and letter of its own laws, while cynically circumventing due process, chips away at South Africa’s foundational values. Yet again, the Judiciary finds itself having to adjudicate a matter in which the Executive has failed in its constitutional obligations.
The Constitution of South Africa remains one of the most admirable and progressive documents in the history of the world. It contains broad civil, political and socio-economic rights, it embraces the duties of the State and it strengthens the collective wellbeing of its citizens. Nevertheless, reality looks different and the aspirations made 25 years ago have repeatedly been destroyed by among others, rampant corruption, growing inequality and bad governance.
The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the announcement of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, that lifestyle audits for senior managers of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have started and will be completed by March 2019. As a country, we have too long concentrated only on ‘big’ Zupta-related corruption and state capture, forgetting that ‘smaller’ corruption in the public service is also endemic. It is a well-known fact that most of the bigger SOEs are in dire financial trouble, amongst others apparently because of sky-high salary bills. While legal battles are playing themselves out with regard to the Zupta-related issues, a start must be made on the other instances of corruption. While a lifestyle audit will not be conclusive evidence of corruption, it would be a good indicator of possible ill-begotten income. This task will be undertaken by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and it must be hoped that they have the requisite skills to complete the task successfully. It is perhaps significant that the period for financial declarations goes back to 2009, the start of the Zuma administration.