“Commentary” Blog Posts

How South Africa’s electoral system effectively disenfranchises voters

April 20, 2017 (6 days, 6 hours ago) — Comments

By Pierre De Vos

DM

The South African Constitution does not provide any clarity on the nature of the relationship between extra-parliamentary political parties and their elected representatives in the national and provincial legislatures. Can extra-parliamentary leaders of political parties dictate to their MPs how to exercise their constitutional duties, including ...

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Op-Ed: MPs have an obligation to be the voice of the people

April 11, 2017 (2 weeks ago) — Comments

By Thabo Mbeki

Members of Parliament (MPs), each elected to this position by the people as a whole, and never by individual political parties, including their own, must act in Parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties to which they might belong.

thabo Photo ...

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What happens if the two Houses of Parliament are controlled by different parties?

Feb. 28, 2017 (1 month, 3 weeks ago) — Comments

By Pierre De Vos.

The ANC provincial executive committee in KwaZulu-Natal has called for the scrapping of provinces and for the functions of the provinces either to be transferred to national or local governments. One of the interesting issues not raised in the proposal is what will happen to the ...

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Opinion: Courts and Constitution plug the gap left by lack of political accountability

Dec. 2, 2016 (4 months, 3 weeks ago) — Comments

By Firoz Cachalia

Some years ago I brought back from Siena copies of two famous frescoes painted by Lorenzetti depicting good and bad government. The first shows idyllic scenes of virtuous rulers, happy citizens and a prosperous society; the second shows dystopian scenes of selfish rule, injustice and famine, thus ...

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Editorial: SA is courting abuse

Nov. 23, 2016 (5 months ago) — Comments

Increasingly, the courts are being called on to settle disputes that should be dealt with by other constitutional or political institutions.

zumaJacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

SA is awash with court cases between political actors. Hardly a week goes by without a civil society organisation or a political party ...

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Don’t wait for a beautiful leader, South Africa. Rather rely on the Constitution

Nov. 18, 2016 (5 months, 1 week ago) — Comments

A new collection of legal and autobiographical writings by former Constitutional Court judge,Albie Sach, offers an intimate insider’s view of South Africa’s Constitution. Sachs, who lost his arm and his sight in one eye in a bomb attack by the apartheid regime in Maputo, was appointed by ...

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Today’s no-confidence vote will either be a display of conscience or terror

Nov. 10, 2016 (5 months, 2 weeks ago) — Comments

By Mondli Makhanya

“Your conscience will not guide you, but ANC branches will.”

Those words were said by Water and Sanitation minister and senior ANC leader Nomvula Mokonyane last weekend, urging President Jacob Zuma to stand firm in the face of calls for him to do the right thing.

Conscience ...

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The people must use public hearings to instil democracy

Oct. 6, 2016 (6 months, 3 weeks ago) — Comments

BY KGALEMA MOTLANTHE OCTOBER 05 2016

The medium-term budget policy statement that the minister of finance will deliver to Parliament towards the end of October, will again provide South Africans with a clearer picture of the priorities of our government. By updating the revenue, spending and borrowing projections for the ...

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Decisions on public money not that democratic when the majority is not heard

Sept. 29, 2016 (6 months, 4 weeks ago) — Comments

By Steven Friedman

fried

Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

WHEN South Africans debate how public money should be spent, we can be sure that the voices of most of the people will never be heard.

The conflict over university fee increases is the latest example. We are told that "the students" want some ...

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PAIA has holes, but is not the only law giving access to information

Sept. 5, 2016 (7 months, 3 weeks ago) — Comments

BY RONÉE ROBINSON.

It is by now well established that the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) is the vehicle giving effect to the right of access to information, enshrined in section 32 of the constitution. This is an important right, albeit an importance easy to disrespect and disguise ...

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