Constitution's burglar alarm must not be allowed to fail again

31 January 2021 - 00:00 By Sunday Times Editorial

SA's constitution enjoins a hybrid government with an executive that has sweeping powers and a legislature that serves as a supposedly vigilant yet largely supportive backing chorus for the president. On paper, MPs act as checks and balances on executive excess; in reality our party system ensures that those in positions of authority, in the civil service and parliament, are beholden to the party, rather than the people and the constitution.

Of course, they're free to exercise their citizen's understanding of the intention, if not the letter, of the constitution, but when they do so it's sometimes at the risk of disciplinary action and ostracism from the circle of the ruling elite. The rewards of conformity are manifest...

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