Stepping away slightly from this blog’s normal coverage of the wine industry, I want to write briefly on the political debate in South Africa about controversial legislation before Parliament as well as inflammatory statements by members of the ruling party.
Former President FW de Klerk gave a speech in Cape Town earlier this where he listed the many achievements of post-apartheid South Africa and also warned against the inflammatory utterances and pending legislation such as the the Land Tenure Security Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, both of which have direct consequences for the wine farmers.
De Klerk argues that “the fulcrum on which South Africa’s future will pivot is our Constitution. It is a carefully balanced document that represents an historic compromise between all the significant sectors of our society. It makes provision for a fully democratic society; it is based on the rule of law; it protects the fundamental rights of all our citizens; it entrenches our language and cultural rights; it envisages a society based on equality and human dignity. It is a transformative document that rightly rejects the status quo. If we can maintain this excellent Constitution I am confident that our future will be secure.”
I have not seen extensive coverage of his speech in the media and therefore to contribute to the political debate in South Africa, I have made it available for download here.
As I postscript I need to add that in recent days I have seen signs that the power of democratic debate and opposition is alive in South Africa: government is redrafting its contentious protection of information bill and a firebrand ANC youth leader has apologized for some recent comments.
We are a young democracy and hopefully by challenging missteps that undermine our constitution we will become an old democracy.