IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi turns 90 in August
What message was the ANC trying to send by announcing its decision to amend the Constitution, just before the people of the Western Cape were given their chance to express an opinion?

During his late night press conference, the head of state applauded “our people, from all walks of life for expressing their views on this critical matter”, based on which the ANC will push an amendment to the Constitution through Parliament.

Are the people of the Western Cape not “our people”? Do the views of almost 6 million people, many of whom are farmers, carry no weight with the ANC?

The constitutional review process was instituted by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to enable all South Africans to participate. Millions of rand were spent to enable Parliament to hear from all citizens.

Even after the hearings in the Western Cape, the hundreds of thousands of submissions from around the country will need to be analysed and tested by the Joint Constitutional Review Committee before a recommendation is made to Parliament.

But none of that matters anymore, because the ANC has already decided what they will make Parliament do. This is not just a slap in the face of Parliament, but a slap in the face to all South Africans.

It’s far from good enough to listen to some voices, but not others. Moreover, not all submissions will be based on the best interests of our country, our economy and the future of investment. We have seen many of the public hearings dominated by political appearances and obvious political agendas. Parliament’s committee is tasked with filtering all that is said, and expressing the genuine voice of the people. Why could the ANC not wait for the people to speak and for Parliament to complete its work?

This is not the way a government of the people works. The IFP calls on Parliament to reaffirm its authority, and to engage the ruling party on its public disrespect for the parliamentary process. Let all our voices be heard.

* Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, MP, President of the IFP.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus