02 September 2007

The crosstitutes are at it again

It's floor-crossing season again, when South Africa abandons democracy and is ruled by a self-elected, self-serving bunch of politicians.

The worst thing about it is not the behaviour of the politicians. Politicians can be expected to be self-serving. The worst thing about it is the behaviour of our constitutional court, which has utterly failed in its duty to protect our democracy by allowing it to be destroyed in this fashion. One must seriously question the integrity of the judges of the Constiutional Court.

The Constitutional Court is supposed to evaluate legislation in the spirit of the constitution, and its fundamental principles. And one of the principles of the Constitution, one of the principles that the liberation struggle was fought for, was "the people shall govern".

While that may be true for the first 18 months after an election, for the rest of the time the people do not govern, and South Africa is ruled by an unelected oligarchy.

As The Weekender reported, even before it began the floor-crossing window was stained with "allegations of bribery, threats of violence, and offers of sexual favours".

The crosstitutes bring South Africa into disrepute. The Constitutional Court, by allowing crosstitution, brings South Africa into even more disrepute. Is the Constitutional Court there to protect our democracy, or to preside over a political brothel?

In a constituency system, where candidates are elected in their personal capacity, and their names appear on the ballot paper, floor-crossing is permissible, and may be judged good or bad according to circumstances. In a proportional representation system, however, where the names of candidates do not appear on the ballot paper, but are nominated on party lists, the politicians cease to represent the electorate the moment they leave the party that put them on its list.

What makes it so difficult for our Constiutional Court judges to understand this?


Unknown said...

My roommate in college was from South Africa - it's quite the culture shock compared to some places... and scary to hear how bad things can get there.

Stay strong in SA - I do envy the experience though, I'd love to stay in SA. I'm going to go ahead and bookmark your blog and check in on you !

Anonymous said...

God's peace to you, Steve, and all the readers as well. I read this post a few days ago, and have been mulling the issues that you raise over and over again. Perhaps feeling so betrayed and angry once again, I am afraid my words won't fit the standard of your blog as a result of this rage.

"Crosstitutes" is great word. Is it your own? I wouldn't be surprised if it were. Isn't it also crosstitution when the parties abandon policies they promised to follow? Similarly, when they form alliances with parties they were elected to keep in check? Steve, I said on another issue a few weeks ago, that the horse is lifeless to begin with (being the system of government). But then later I have to remind myself that there are jockeys (the politicians or their parties) and then there are the spectators also (us). We get what we deserve, and if we are napping, then this is the end result. Vigilance and healthy debate seem to be in short supply, and have been for too long and through many regime changes. We are approaching thirty years since Steve Biko's death, and still we haven't started doing what he urged Africans to do, i.e. develop the people beyond their state of ignorance and their complex of inferiority. People with a complex and without knowledge, tend to act like sheep and then we end up in this mess. Concerning leadership, I am convinced that leaders have to be healthy spiritually as well as intellectually. This way, they have their own "checks and balance" thing going on, and they don't always need us to keep them in line. Sorry for the long blurb. Hope some of it makes sense. Thank you.

Steve Hayes said...

No, "crosstitutes" isn't mine, though it's an apt description.

Either the politicians or the constitutional court could end it; the fact that they don't makes our democracy a fraud.

The politicians don't end it because it would deprive them of the opportunity to bribe and be bribed.

The constitutional court doen't end it because they do not understnad the principles of democracy and the principles on which our constitution is based.

The old constitution, under the Nats, was based on the principle of the sovereignty of parliament. The new one was supposed to change this into "the people shall govern", but the constitutional court has ruled for the old principle.

Perhaps, like Jonathan Swift, we should say "With all this hypocrisy around, give me hippocracy any day."

yahclo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are right, Steve. ANC WP Chief whip, Ozinsky also says it's the electorate's fault, but
not for the same reasons I am saying it. They sure are slippery eels,
aren't they. I am glad to see that the debate is at least taking place
on the ground, and at my Alma Mater to boot Report at allAfrica URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200709070643.html

Steve Hayes said...

My children weren't old enough to vote in 1994, the first democratic election. Now they are old enough to vote, they don't.


Floor crossing, they say. Why bother to vote when the politicians are going to change your vote at will? I think quite a lot of the youth think like this.


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