Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has described the constitution as a social contract between government and the people which determines how the country moves towards a better future.
The minister made this known at the funeral service of Umkhonto weSizwe Struggle veteran Shirish Nanabhai at the Gandhi Hall in Lenasia, south of Joburg, on Monday.
He further postulated that South Africa’s constitution incorporates the duties of leaders to the people and must not be broken. He said,
“The constitution that we have is the embodiment of a social contract that we have with our people. Once our actions are seen to be incongruent with this important document of our democracy we must know that we have moved away from our duty to serve our people. We have broken that contract.”
Gordhan, whose words really showed that he is going by the books lashed out at “greedy and selfish” leaders who brazenly loot state coffers and disregard democratic institutions, thereby pulling the country down.
He asserted that it’s time the ruling party, which has been at the forefront of the struggle for most of the 20th century go back to the drawing board and “rediscover and reclaim” its original purpose, which were which was unity, non-racialism, non-sexism and prosperity for all “and not for the few.
Speaking about Nkandla judgment, Gorhan stated that the judgment was a “testimony to the vibrancy and resilience of our democratic institution and all of us should be very proud of that”.
Gordhan also criticized the alarming rate at which endemic corruption had infiltrated some sectors of society. He remarked that “For instance, democratic institutions and the well-being of our people are trampled upon in pursuit of self-aggrandisement. Today, it’s not enough for some to steal R1 million, you must have R10 (million), and when you have R10 (million), you must have a R100 (million).”
He added that many democratic institutions were being tested. He revealed that these institutions “are also being influenced, or attempts are being made to influence them. Our task is to improve and strengthen, and not undermine and weaken our institutions”.
Gordhan, who felt much concerned for the future opined that leaders must see the constitution as a social contract and make weak institutions stronger, better and morally more correct and more principled for the next generation.
He eulogized the deceased saying struggle veteran Nanabhai was a man who would never stand for or defend corruption.
The minister called on people to stand against capture of the country’s hard-won democracy. “Our children must inherit a well-functioning state… which cares for our people,” he asserted.
On the other hand, Gauteng Premier David Makhura,who was also present at Nanabhai’s funeral service as ANC provincial deputy chairman, said the ruling party had always taken good decisions in the past. He said they would do everything in their power to rescue the ANC from itself and make sure that it “doesn’t lose touch with what South Africans feel”.