A declaration in defence of the Constitution

Professor Kader Asmal, a key figure in the development of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, has drafted and is the first signatory of the declaration below. The Mail & Guardian fully supports this initiative and urges readers to participate in this powerful endorsement of the founding principles of our republic.


Against the injunction to kill and in defence of the Constitution we must live for

We, the undersigned, take note of recent threats to kill uttered by a youth leader and a trade union federation official in the context of cases presently before the Constitutional Court.

We abhor and reject such intimidatory and threatening tactics in a constitutional democracy such as South Africa.

Just as we condemn the anti-democratic and violent practices in Zimbabwe, we must condemn South African leaders who threaten to kill to achieve political objectives.

In a country struggling to overcome violent crime, leaders who threaten to kill, or advocate such behaviour for personal and political ends, are reckless and abusive of our constitutional order.

The Constitution of our country provides for the peaceful resolution of disputes and for respect for an independent judiciary. The laws of the country forbid incitement to violence.

Inflammatory statements are intolerable. They are a precursor to further lawlessness. All agencies of state must respond to these threats with the full force of the law and organisations associated with inflammatory leaders must discipline them.

Our Constitution is not a document only to be defended and protected by the judges of the Constitutional Court.

This significant moment in our history requires that all of us become activists in the service of our Constitution. Each of us must act as a steward, if not as an owner.

As citizens and friends of South Africa, in rejecting these inflammatory and dangerous attacks on the Constitution, we do not have to lay down our lives. We must live in defence of the Constitution, of its values and principles.

Download a PDF of this declaration, print it and collect signatures. Fax it to us on 011 250 7502. You can also add your name and your thoughts on the declaration in the comments area below, or write to us in support (or disagreement) at [email protected].

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