The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has noted that the Constitutional Court sentenced the former president, Cde Jacob Zuma, to fifteen (15) months after it found him to have been in contempt of court.
SAFTU believes that there are two central lessons that stands in contradiction to one
Firstly, this is sad that a leader who played a very important role in the struggle for liberation of our country is now going to spend fifteen months in prison for undermining the Constitution that he together with millions of others played such an important role to put together.
It is the struggle against apartheid, colonialism, and capitalism that Cde Jacob Zuma inspired millions to join. It was a struggle for the return of the dignity of our people. It was sacrifices, which in his case, includes supreme sacrifices such as spending ten years of his youth Robben Island. This was a struggle inspired by the demands of our people which were collated into a document called the Freedom Charter. One of the central pillars of the Freedom Charter is its demand that “all shall be equal before the law”.
It was Cde Jacob Zuma’s struggles that led to a Bills of Rights to be one of the central pillars of our constitutional democracy.
“Section9 Equality
(1) Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
(2) Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.’
These values enshrined in the constitution are among the cornerstones of our democracy.
It is regrettable that Cde Zuma has today been found wanting when judged against the very constitution he fought so hard to bring into being.
The Constitutional Court has made a historic judgement that will serve as a lesson for a generation and generations to come. That lesson is that no one is above the law and that all citizens of our country are “equal before the law”. There should be no exception in the application of this principles.
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