Following on from what I wrote last week about The National Conference on the Constitution, some very true words were spoken by Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi:
“I hear a lot of scepticism and dismissal of constitutionalism as a concept – sort of embedded in some of these remarks. I want to take them seriously that there is a sense of constitutional scepticism, but I want to consider a possible alternative to constitutional nihilism …
Consider a different perspective.
My own experience – having studied and lived in this country – is that if you destroy the rule of law, what you are left with is a state of chaos. People who benefit from a state of chaos are people with money and guns.
A state without the rule of law never benefits the poor, but the promise of the big man, you know who promises you a different future if you destroy the rule of law, is always that things will be better, but they never are.
So we have to sustain the rule of law for the poor, but not any kind of rule of law, but a rule of law that is grounded in justice, not to sustain it for the rich, but to sustain it for the poor. And we’ve got to understand that if we destroy the rule of law we destroy it primarily for the poor and we benefit the elites who pretend they are acting for the poor, but they are simply exploiting the poor by deploying their language, but ultimately what they are interested in is themselves.
So whenever someone uses constitutional nihilism as an entry point in the debate we have to be very, very concerned about what their true agenda is. So I am very sceptical about claims about selling out and very sceptical about the claims for constitutional nihilism.”
[Interesting trivia: Tembeka Ngcukaitobi was born on the 25th December 1976. Use it, don’t use it].
Now as we look forward to next week – Holy Week – we will be reminded of the story of Jesus’ anointing with costly perfumed oil. In John’s telling of this story, we hear Judas complain about the wastage and how it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. John adds a whisper to the reader regarding Judas’ motive: “Judas said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief…” This points to Ngcukaitobi’s insight about how there are certain “big men – elites – who pretend they are acting for the poor”. Yet, as he says: “… they are simply exploiting the poor by deploying their language, but ultimately what they are interested in is themselves”. Sounds like Judas would have fitted in well with those who wear RET (Radical Economic Transformation) T-shirts. The ancient story remains disturbingly relevant to our days!
During Holy Week (Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday evenings) we will be investigating who killed Jesus – but looking at some of the hidden players.
Spoiler alert: it was us. Not them. It is us.