10 DAYS AWAY
After ten hours of discussion between the NP and the ANC, the two main parties were joined by delegations from both COSATU and business to discuss the property and lock-out clauses. Ramaphosa came away from the meeting stating that he was ‘1 000 per cent sure of adopting the Constitution on May 8’. His confidence was based on significant agreements on the education, official languages and lock-out clauses reached that day.
I got out of that meeting feeling fairly upbeat. I thought that a sound basis had been laid to resolve nearly all the difficult matters and, as it turned out, it was a false start. It was a false consensus and I almost felt like there was a little bit of egg on my face, but because we had laid a sound basis for continuing the talks, I quietly and silently in my heart thought that we will be able to resolve the problems.
There were other obstacles besides the false starts. The smaller parties, which were not part of the meeting with the President and Deputy President, voiced their great frustration.
I would say it is almost not democratic because … it looked like what we did throughout the months and the years before was pushed aside to finally allow what the major political parties wanted.
Since Arniston the process has started looking increasingly chaotic and is no longer conducive to constitution-making.
Ramaphosa assured the smaller parties that nothing was finalised. Many hours of further discussion clearly lay ahead.