OUT Raises Alarm Over Rise of Anti-Constitutionalism in SA Politics


Former President and MK leader Jacob Zuma has promised to reverse same-sex marriage rights in South Africa (Photo: uMkhonto weSizwe / Facebook)

Gauteng-based queer group OUT LGBT Well-being says it’s “deeply concerned” that the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, which campaigned to dismantle South Africa’s landmark Constitution, is set to become the third largest party in the country’s National Assembly.

In the recent national and provincial elections, the new party secured 14.58% of the national vote, giving it an influential stake in Parliament and a potential role in a coalition government. In the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, the party also secured 45.35% of the votes.

According to its election manifesto, MK views the Constitution as a “colonial” and “liberal” document that it believes has impeded the economic, social, and cultural emancipation of the country’s black citizens.

It states that it plans on “moving our country away from constitutional supremacy toward unfettered parliamentary supremacy,” and instead “re-centering our country on African cultural, and moral values.” The party also supports holding a referendum “to scrap the 1996 Constitution and replace it with a parliamentary system with or without a codified Constitution.”

OUT pointed out that South Africa’s Constitution, which came into effect in February 1997, is recognised internationally as one of the most progressive in the world. Its Bill of Rights was the first in history to specifically protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

“South Africa’s Constitution is celebrated as one of the most significant achievements of our transition to democracy, ensuring that all citizens are treated with dignity and respect, and that their rights are protected in all aspects of life,” asserted Dawie Nel, the Executive Director of OUT, in a statement.

“Undermining the Constitution is a dangerous, misguided, and populist strategy to avoid acknowledging the failures of governance and the lack of implementation of constitutional values that are meant to improve the lives of South Africans,” he said.

Nel added that scrapping the Constitution “would effectively remove the human rights protections that have driven major social justice victories, such as compelling the government to provide lifesaving ARVs to millions of people living with HIV.”

In the run-up to the elections, MK’s leader, former President Jacob Zuma, made it clear that LGBTIQ+ people are among those the party would seek to strip of their constitutional rights. According to media reports, he described same-sex relationships as a disgrace and promised that if MK came to power, it would reverse the law that legalised same-sex marriage in South Africa.

In April, the MK party stunned the LGBTIQ+ community when it shamelessly and cynically attempted to court queer voters by selling rainbow-coloured merchandise.

OUT urged “all freedom-loving South Africans, political parties, and other organisations to reject with contempt efforts to devalue and threaten the Constitution and thereby seek to undermine our human-rights-based democratic society.”

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend