Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ex-President Steyn

Ex-President Steyn, interviewed at his farm, Onze Rust, (on Wednesday) declared that anyone expecting a perfect Constitution would be dissapointed, but that a workable one had been devised, was to him a matter of certainty, any mistakes made being redressable.
The soul of the Constitution eas that the will of the people could be asserted at all times, as the Central Parliament can always make any alterations which experience may dictate.
The founding of the Constitution is the equality of the two languages, and what gave him confidence in the future was that the English-speaking delegates felt just as strongly on that point as the Dutch speaking.

The Union will affect a large saving in expenditure, and avoid the pressure of taxation.
The point aimed at in drawing up the Constitution was that the people, through Parliament, should be supreme, and therefore the Central Government should be the most powerful institution.
The Provincial Councils would slowly and gradually accustom the people to the change.

The South African Court of Appeal would diminish the costly appeals to the Privvy Council.
The political element in the railways would be removed as far as possible, and the avoidance of making large profits would to a large extent benefit the people of the interior.
As to the coloured franchise, the Convention felt it impossible and undesirable to force it upon three unwilling Colonies.
At the same time it would be an injustice to take the vote away from the people who had enjoyed it for 50 years.
As to the Capital, Mr Steyn said he knew the people of South Africa would not allow themselves to be kept divided for the sake of one city or another.
He would not say the arrangement come to is impracticable, but, nevertheless, he did not like it.
They must abide by the arrangement as it proves practicable, and if it is found impossible, well, the will of the people has only to declare itself.
Mr Steyn, concluding, asked the people to bear in mind that this was the first time the ideal of so many statesmen in past is on the point of being realised.

"May our people grasp their responsibility, and show that they too are imbubed with the desire to make of this, our dear South Africa, one great and strong country, where peace and prosperity shall reign."

Eastern Province Herald - February 11, 1909.

It's amazing how they imagine that "peace and prosperity shall reign" when three-quarters of the population was to be left without a vote.

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