Hannah Omarjee | email@example.com
29 May 2023 | 19:00 CAT
2 min read
Almost a year ago, Defend Our Democracy was tasked to create a civil society movement to strengthen, renew, safeguard, and enhance South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Defend Our Democracy officially launched as a civil society movement on Saturday, 27 May 2023. Radio Islam International discussed the initiative with the Communications Officer of Defend Our Democracy, Nonkululeko Mntambo.
In July 2022, over 100 groups attended the Conference for Democratic Renewal and Change hosted by Defend Our Democracy. The conference aimed to create a civil society movement to enhance and protect South Africa’s constitutional democracy. The launch event on Saturday assessed the progress made by Defend Our Democracy, discussed its plans for addressing the main challenges that democracy faces, and chose a new leadership team to lead the movement’s efforts in the future.
According to Mntambo, Defend Our Democracy has no intention of becoming a political party. She believes that individuals often think they need to be in a position of power to engage with governing institutions.
However, she claims, “That surely can’t be because the country belongs to all of us.” Defend Our Democracy is focused on showing the ordinary South African how to engage with the democratic process. Their goal is to foster a stronger democratic culture. Defend Our Democracy’s main objective is to safeguard the constitutional democracy of South Africa. This involves protecting it against potential threats while promoting and enhancing democratic cultures and participation. According to Mntambo, “Constitutionalism is the founding ideology.”
South Africans encounter numerous challenges regularly due to inadequate governance. Mntambo suggests that public servants can be held accountable only under constant scrutiny.
Mntambo states, “Democracy is not something we must engage in every five years but as an everyday situation.”
Although South Africa has a progressive constitution, Mntambo believes many individuals fail to acknowledge its potential, leading to a loss of faith.
The Defend Our Democracy movement has multiple initiatives planned, including a nationwide campaign to ensure the legitimacy of the 2024 elections, overseeing the execution of the Zondo Commission’s suggestions, and supporting affiliated organisations that aim to strengthen democracy.
Mntambo said, “Most importantly we are moving towards meeting the different movements in every province of South Africa and also just building ourselves up towards being an observer of the elections that are going to be coming up towards 2024 not only in Gauteng but in every province in the country.”
Listen to the full interview with Sulaimaan Ravat on Sabahul Muslim here