Constitution in need of an overhaul

Our constitution is said to be the best in the world. There is no reason to doubt this assertion, especially coming from the country's best legal brains and those who helped in drawing it up.

However, the question arises as to whether the country is ready for this constitution. Are we, the people of South Africa, ready for this advanced constitution.

My observation is that we are not ready. The constitution is way too advanced for an average South African. It covers mostly the well-heeled and those educated enough to understand and follow it.

The rest of us, and we are in the majority, are unfortunately in the dark.

The constitution is quick to tell us about the rights of law breakers and very quiet about those of their victims. This is but only one example.

The surge in crime can partly be attributed to the numerous rights in the constitution. People have a lot of rights and very little accountability under this constitution, for instance.

Our constitution can be likened to a car like the Rolls-Royce, for example. This is a vehicle that boasts all sorts of luxury and security gadgets imaginable. It is one of the best, if not the ultimate, in automobile engineering ever made by man.

However, if this car was to be taken to a desert for a drive, its shortcomings would be laid bare for all to see. The question would then be do we change the desert to suit the car or do we find a car that can navigate the challenging rugged terrain of the desert?

My take would be to go for the latter. Yes, it is ideal for us to make the desert compliant for us to enjoy the ride in the Rolls-Royce but this is more in the long term. In the short term we need a vehicle that will be able to traverse the challenging territory with little difficulty. We need a 4x4.

I am sure that the authors of our constitution can craft one that can suit our unique circumstances as a country. We need a constitution that will address us as South Africans rather than one that is focused more on being the best in the world.

James Ndhlovu, by e-mail

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