The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation supports the call by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) and Corruption Watch urging political parties to review their candidate lists.
The two organisations have stated that the “legal grounds for formally objecting to the inclusion of particular candidates on the Parliamentary lists are extremely and inappropriately narrow, thus affording little opportunity for successful legal challenge to the inclusion of candidates, some of whom have been found to have lied under oath, others of whom are the subject of strong prima facie allegations of corruption, allegations made under oath, while still others have had persuasive allegations of racism and sexism leveled against them.”
We concur that in the final consideration of their lists, political parties should remove compromised individuals from candidature for elected political office. We also support the demand that the relevant legislation be amended so as to raise the bar on acceptable candidature for political office.
In the 2016 Constitutional Court ruling on the Nkandla issue, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng describes the duty of public representatives to abide by the rule of law and embody the values of the Constitution as follows: “One of the crucial elements of our constitutional vision is to make a decisive break from the unchecked abuse of State power and resources that was virtually institutionalised during the apartheid era. To achieve this goal, we adopted accountability, the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution as values of our constitutional democracy. For this reason, public office-bearers ignore their constitutional obligations at their peril. This is so because constitutionalism, accountability and the rule of law constitute the sharp and mighty sword that stands ready to chop the ugly head of impunity off its stiffened neck.”
Protecting our democracy and dismantling state capture would require having public representatives who hold an impeccable ethical record and high moral standing in accordance with the values of the Constitution, something which political parties must ensure by critically reviewing their candidature lists.