The leader of the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi, has called on South African government to scrap the SA democratic constitution and bring in a majoritarian parliamentary system which would address the country’s socio-economic challenges.
Manyi is also a former senior government official, having served as the former chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System.
He raised a call on the need to address the widening gap between poor and wealthy South Africans saying this would be addressed first when the government considers scrapping the current constitution and moving to a different form of governance led by a Parliamentary majority.
South Africa’s current Constitutional Democracy, according to him, was not the ruling ANC’s idea but was rather forced on the country by the previous government to ensure the country’s new leaders could not make the necessary structural changes to uplift the poor.
“We are sitting here today with a constitutional democracy that we are vouching for. But this constitutional democracy is actually at the centre of producing all kinds of spiraling poverty that we are having in this country, the spiraling inequality, the spiraling unemployment. Yet we’ve got this constitutional democracy,” Manyi after the PPF’s national executive committee meeting at the weekend.
Describing further the nature of the SA democratic constitutions, Jimmy Manyi said the concept of constitutional democracy was manipulated by the Broederbond to ensure that government’s intervention was limited in addressing the country’s structural challenges.
The SA democratic constitution came into existence two years after the apartheid era which saw the end of white supremacy and ensured equal right to all citizens.
The constitution, at its emergence, was described as one of the “finest in the world” in that it gave its citizens the most extensive rights available in any country and it formed the basis for most democrats all over the world.
Nevertheless, Manyi was quoted as saying that a constitutional democracy was producing the “spiralling poverty and inequality” the country has seen, as sections of the constitution are brought up to defend institutions and policies that work against the country’s poorest (such as labour brokers).
He equally dismissed the notion that the SA democratic constitution was one of the finest the world ever had, saying that if it was so great, why aren’t more countries copying it.
He argued that ‘majoritarianism’ would be the best to adopt in the country as it would help reconstruct the nation’s democracy. ‘Majoritarianism is a political system where the majority is given primacy in society, and in effect make all the decisions – and that the current constitutional democracy should be debated.
“We are saying if constitutional democracy is better than majoritarianism, let’s have that discussion,” he said, pointing out that majoritarian democracy would function in line with how the ANC majority in Parliament currently pushes its motions through – however, without constitutional grounds for smaller parties and other groups to challenge these decisions.
Though the SA democratic constitution is widely applauded by most countries, the constitution has been questioned by government officials, including President Jacob Zuma who, while addressing ANC supporters in KaNyamazane, near Nelspruit, said the party wanted a “huge majority” to change ‘certain things’ in the Constitution because there were ‘certain hurdles’ in the it.
Since its implementation in 1996, the constitution has been amended 17 times. But this time, the PPF calls for a change in the constitutions. The founding provision in section 1 of the constitution can be amended with the support of 75% of the members of the National Assembly (NA), while the rest of the constitution can be amended with the support of two-thirds of the members of the NA.