South Africa has a strong judiciary, former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs said on Wednesday.
“Often people get preoccupied with individuals,” he said in a speech to the Iman Abdullah Haron Education Trust at the University of Cape Town.
“But we have a strong judiciary.”
The Constitutional Court was a “very collegial court”, he said.
Sachs said South Africans would not easily give up their right to speak their minds.
“South Africans have won the right to know and speak our minds and I can’t see us easily giving that up,” Sachs said.
“We know about the threats to our Constitution because the press remind us 24-7.”
Constitution a monument to struggle heroes
Sachs said it was important that the government “not tinker” with the main elements of the Constitution which was the greatest monument to people who died in the struggle.
People may not have homes, education and health services, he said, but they had freedom.
“People speak out and protest. We are not a scared society. We are not downtrodden. We know about injustices because people speak out.”
Sachs said the government had tried “lots of honest things” that had not worked, but “hopefully” it had learned from its mistakes.
For all the pain, problems and difficulties, South Africa was a “terrific country”, Sachs said.
“I am saddened by so many things that are wrong and unacceptable but there is a buoyancy to South Africa.
“We have memories and traditions that are very important and we have capacity to speak our minds.” – Sapa