Almost half (46%) of South Africans believe that the constitution is the basic law of the land and should not be changed, say results from Ipsos’s “Pulse of the People” poll, conducted between April and May this year.
“With recent calls for changes to section 25 of the Constitution, the debate around constitutional changes has been a topic of contemplation for many South Africans,” states Ipsos Public Affairs Director Mari Harris.
Some 16% of respondents believe the constitution could be changed with almost three in ten (28%) being neutral on the subject and 10% not knowing.
A significant portion (41%) of the population believes that changing the constitution will limit the freedom of South Africans. This view is slightly more pronounced amongst Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters (46%) as opposed to African National Congress (ANC) supporters (42%).
On the other hand, just over a third (33%) of respondents believe that the constitution as it stands is slowing down transformation in the country. This belief is significantly more prevalent amongst ANC supporters (37%) than DA supporters (30%), with DA supporters showing a much stronger inclination away from this statement with 29% disagreeing that it is slowing down transformation.
“This view that the constitution is hampering transformation is likely influenced by numerous requests to change some aspects of it by the ANC L and Numsa, as well as significant writing on the subject in the media over the past year,” comments Harris.
Almost half (48%) of the ANC’s supporters are of the opinion that if they want to, the ANC could make changes to the constitution. A far smaller portion (25%) of DA supporters believe this and 41% of the general population agree that the ANC could make the changes if they wanted to.
“ANC supporters are very aware of the dominance of their party and the power it carries to change the basic law of the land,” notes Harris. Thirty-two per cent of respondents are neutral and 12% do not know if the ANC could make the changes if they wanted to.