It is clear to everyone who has ever read an American History textbook that when the Founders wrote the legislation that would lead this country to its independence, they were doing something right. It was not completely accepted by the American people during the creation of the Constitution, so many publications were constructed to help provide the public with answers concerning their questions against the new government. One of the greatest benefits set down by James Madison within the Federalist Papers was the assurance of this new democracy against the violence of political factions.
This threat of political factions can be seen all over the world, especially in countries with a history of political turmoil such as South Africa. But would it be feasible to attempt to apply the ideology behind political faction prevention of the American democracy to another country like South Africa that is in desperate need of change? Although a republic does already exist in South Africa, a new development of democratic legislation, through a process similar to a joint veto policy, needs to ensue to ensure that a tyranny of one political faction does not occur over another, as the Federalist Papers would indicate, and this must be done in a different fashion than of the United States because the political and social circumstances of South Africa deviate from the typical American historical context.
Madison was especially concerned with the idea of political factions reaching a state of majority within the government and reaffirmed this belief in the Federalist Papers when he said, "Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.
He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it," (Madison 338). The general understanding of a faction defines them as groups of individuals who are bound together, either within the majority or minority opinion, that express the same interests or passions opposed to political desires of other citizens. Factions then become an even more serious problem that we must address in the South African example. Ever since the first attempts of colonization within African nations, there has been social rifts between the white European settlers and the native African inhabitants.
That is history. Now, as the country faces severe social divides after years of violence and apartheid, South Africa has the chance to finally settle the disputes of the two factions for the first time. This is the future. Because these two parties are founded within the social confines of a solid racial prejudice, the idea of establishing a method of compromise within the two becomes even more clouded with doubt and uncertainty. On one hand, we have the Afrikaner population, an Afrikaans speaking people who have been established in Southern Africa since the 17th century mainly descending from northwestern European origins and feel as if they belong to the only home they've ever known.
The Afrikaner population has been known to control what is called the Nationalist Party in South Africa. On the other hand, we have the native African people, who primarily compose the African National Congress and have seen the ill-effects of colonialism through the form of apartheid and segregation. Anyone can see there was bound to be problems in this equation. Van den Berghe described the social situation of South Africa as a "democratic faï¿½ade" as he explained that the entirety of political process within South Africa to date has been extremely biased through a monopolization of power by the white community (73).
Perhaps the greatest fear for a new plan of democracy in South Africa would reiterate Tocqueville's concern regarding the equality of condition before equality in a political sense. Tocqueville illustrates a similar problem within France in his publication of Democracy in America (399-400). Before the French Revolution, France was desperately in need of help, much like South Africa is today, with the distribution of rights in the political field. He basically emphasized the point as to why the American system of democracy had worked so well where the French had not was due to the fact that the American system was firstly based on a framework of social equality preconditions whereas France had rushed into creating a democracy where all men were created equal...but not really.
It becomes quite clear what role each party must play in order for South Africa to win as a country and that is to form a new system of democratic legislation that will ensure both parties as a whole and individual people within those parties will be equally represented. Through time as we can emphasize equality on the political field, we will slowly see a change in the social conditions that seem to have inhibited a potentially industrious country to nothing, a conservative approach I feel Edmund Burke would truly appreciate.
A double-veto jurisdiction does not vary from our conventional understandings of the typical veto system that most Americans are familiar with, the only difference being that two parties are involved instead of the characteristic one party veto systems, like we see from the presidential veto application. With such a system in place, both political factions in South Africa, the Nationalist Party (Afrikaners) and the African National Congress (native Africans), would have a say in the legislative process to ensure that neither party ever developed a tyrannical majority.
Through a system of double-veto jurisdiction, the newfound democratic legislation process would help sustain a sense of accountability between the two factions in South Africa and eventually lead to a sense of trust which would inevitably lead to an overall better system of government. It is too late to go back into time and change the history of social uprising and revolution within South Africa, but we can look prospectively into the future and allow change for all citizens of this country.
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