African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule says the Constitution “is not sacrosanct” and can be changed and challenged, though he made it clear that he respects it.
He also says the Constitution is an “important document”.
“Let me make it clear to you,” Magashule said during an interview on Newzroom Afrika, “I respect the Constitution, I respect the Zondo Commission [of inquiry into State capture], I respect all the institutions, and where we have differences with such an institution I will express this view, and it doesn’t mean disrespect for the Constitution in a democracy.”
During the interview on Thursday, Magashule told Newzroom’s political editor, Sbu Ngalwa and talkshow host Thami Ngubeni that, in terms of the Constitution, “[former] president [Jacob] Zuma has his own rights as an individual”, and that he never said people should ignore the Constitution.
“I have said, differing with judges doesn’t actually show any disrespect in a democratic South Africa.”
Magashule on Wednesday defended Zuma’s defiance of a Constitutional Court judgment, which compelled him to appear before the Zondo Commission – something that could constitute a constitutional delinquency.
Magashule also rubbished the ANC in the Eastern Cape, as well as individual national executive committee (NEC) members, who have asked for Zuma to be disciplined for bringing the party into disrepute.
The matter is likely to be dealt with at the NEC’s next meeting on February 13 and 14, but it’s unclear whether there will be any other statements or meetings with Zuma before that.
Magashule attempted to dodge a number of questions during the interview by deflecting it back at interviewers.
On the Constitution, he said it could be changed and that was why some people were agitating for the amendment of Section 25, which deals with the expropriation of land without compensation.
He said the Constitution was a product of the negotiations that led to a democratic South Africa.
“The view that Magashule disrespects the Constitution, there is no such thing,” he said.