To quote Paul Hoffman ‘anarchy and a failed state in which stability and security are severely compromised are staring SA in the face’.

With the permission of Business Day here are a few extracts, but the entire article needs to be read by clicking on the link or going to Business Day itself.

“’We will not win in court what we have not won in the streets’. There has been insufficient analysis of these words, which fell from the lips of African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as he stood outside the Johannesburg High Court and announced the postponement of The Spear case to the party faithful. Their underlying message is perhaps too chilling and stark to contemplate in the comfort of commentators’ usual contexts.”

“It is so that Max du Preez has spoken out to brand this the ‘typical behaviour of a cheap populist’. He juxtaposes it with the ‘kill for Zuma’ sentiment and the threats to farmers’ safety posed by the ‘land hungry’ as expressed by Ronald Lamola of the ANC Youth League recently. He also draws attention to the equally chilling warning of Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the ANC’s head of legal and constitutional affairs, that the constitution will be ‘interpreted on the streets’ instead of in the courts. There may be more to all this than mere resort to populism.”

“It is revealing to draw attention to the prescient words of Mark Gevisser in his introduction to The Dream Deferred: ‘Mbeki allegedly worried that Zuma and his backers (the very people Du Preez now singles out) had no respect for the rule of law, and would be unaccountable to the constitutional dispensation that the ANC had put in place if they came to power’.”

“Only those with no respect for the rule of law take to the streets to force their way on the issues of the day. In a constitutional democracy under the rule of law, with well-functioning courts and chapter nine institutions to receive the complaints of the populace and deal with them fairly, there is no need to resort to force and intimidation. It seems former president Thabo Mbeki ’s concerns were well founded.”

“Those who long for a hegemonic one-party state should be more upfront about it; they are free to try to persuade 75% of the voters (the majority needed to revise the system) to turn their backs on constitutionalism in favour of a totalitarian future based on long-debunked 19th-century theories. Populist activism, the stirring up of a revolution and taking to the streets to effect change by force are the tools of a radical minority. Those who are tasked with governing the country in terms of the constitution in place have no business resorting to populist rhetoric and violent actions that imply that the existing law is not good enough for their purposes. There are processes for changing laws in a manner consistent with the constitution that the ANC itself put in place.”

“In the contest of ideas in a constitutional democracy, the voice of reason has its proper place at the ballot box. If the necessary majority wishes to experiment with the type of ideas the NDR contains, so be it. If not, let’s all get on with being responsible citizens working toward a society that operates under the rule of law, values non racism and non sexism, and in which human dignity, the achievement of equality and the enjoyment of our human rights are the order of the day.”