DA Youth: The ANC needs to change, not the Constitution

About 50 blue-clad Democratic Alliance (DA) Youth supporters staged a sit-in outside the Constitutional Court in Braamfontein on Monday in protest against what they deemed an “assault” on the Constitution.

“The ANC saying the Constitution needs to change to address our problems is simply a front to hide the fact that the real obstacle to enabling redress in South Africa is not the Constitution, but the ANC itself,” DA Youth leader Makashule Gana told the gathering.

The protest came at a time of heightened uncertainty over the future of South Africa’s Constitution.

Over the past several months the ruling ANC has hinted at possible changes to the South African Constitution in order to have the document “better serve the people”.

The ANC currently has a policy document in circulation among its members which proposes alterations to sections of the Constitution governing land ownership rights as well as governance.

Most recently, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday the Constitution is a living document and is “not written in stone”.

“They say the Constitution must be changed because they have failed to govern this country. They are failing to provide services and failing to provide opportunities to the young people of this country,” Gana said.

‘Phansi ANC, phansi’
The crowd of predominantly black supporters bussed in from nearby Soweto and Orange Farm toyi-toyied and sang struggle songs while waving placards before bursting into impromptu cries of “Amandla!”

“Phansi ANC, phansi!” (down with the ANC, down), shouted one protester.

“Viva DA Youth, Viva!” shouted another.

“I am here to help protect my Constitution. The ANC has done nothing for me except given me empty promises. Only the DA can solve South Africa’s problems,” Dineo Maraisane, from Orange Farm told the Mail & Guardian.

For some members who attended the sit-in, they were not present simply to protect the Constitution, but rather to show their overall support for the DA.

“I am here to show my support. I want work and opportunities and I feel the DA will provide them to me,” an elderly Mokete Masiteng told the M&G.

“I voted for the ANC in 1994 but I support the DA now. I know they will try to make South Africa a better place, Masiteng added.

Gana said the diverse showing of support at the march was a sign of things to come.

“This protest shows the DA is changing and we are preparing to govern this country. Black, white, Indian and coloured South Africans are all coming out in support of this initiative to protect our Constitution. It’s not about race anymore, it’s about what we can do,” Gana said.

A new DA Youth poster depicting the Constitution engulfed in flames was unveiled as part of the protest.

“In our future the Constitution will reign supreme” was the caption accompanying the image.

This follows the controversial release of a DA Youth poster earlier this year depicting a scantily-clad mixed race couple with the words “In our future, you wouldn’t look twice” emblazoned next to them.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu dismissed the protest, and said the ruling party respected the Constitution.

“This is a Constitution that came with the ANC. We are not saying any willy-nilly person with a hangover can change it. All constitutions have amendments, and it all comes through a majority. It is not the DA Youth who brought this Constitution, they can go jump in the nearest lake,” Mthembu said.—Additional reporting by Sapa

Correction:In the original version of this story, we reported that a DA Youth poster featured the words, “In our future, you wouldn’t think twice”. In fact, it said, “In our future, you wouldn’t look twice.”

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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