Much may be wrong with South Africa, but constitutionally much is also very right!
The idea that democracy is a winner takes all, even by the slightest of margins is unsustainable. Events in Egypt indicate this where the government in power was elected by a slight majority.
The idea that one nominal half of the country (a literal majority of 2%) can prescribe to the other nominal half is bound to be unsustainable!
Only 'half the people' have spoken in favour of the prevailing government and where governments do not have sufficient checks and balances in place there is bound to be trouble.
Furthermore, in Egypt it is possible that the swing has been to the opposition, making this the real majority. This makes it worse ...
In South Africa this situation is recognised by the constitution requiring more than a handful of percentage points in majority before it can be changed.
The attention paid to drawing up the constitution beforehand was crucial and reinforces this - however, despite the powerful case study of South Africa in resolving conflict the wisdoms it presents are mostly not fully acknowledged and observed elsewhere.
Governments should avoid the fallacy of doing as if they represent most of the people on the basis of a slight majority ... and when they might then only be representing a minority through subsequent loss of support, it becomes a recipe for even more trouble.
Bloodshed may then become tragically inevitable ...
Leave a Reply.