Philip Copeman

Author and Activist

I would like to talk about #termlimits how they can help democracies world wide and highlight how they can solve the current political position in South Africa.

Term limits is a global movement that wants the current constitutional term limits on Presidents extended. To set an example for the world, I am suggesting that this is how we should play it in South Africa:

All persons are restricted in all representative positions to a maximum of two terms or eight years in total. For example, a municipal councilor who serves four years on a council and then four years in Parliament, may not run for President or any further public office.

Once a person has reached their term limit they are severely restricted in terms of interaction with the public office. In particular they may not : ever run for public office again; hold membership of any political party; be employed in any state owned entity; work in any Government department; be an employee, director or shareholder of any company that supplies services to Government; be the beneficiary of any fees relating to providing Government services.

Persons who reach their term limit are expected to behave as loyal private citizens and follow the will of the democratic majority. This would put major restrictions on ambitions of career politicians. It will greatly diminish the cost of these participants and will open democracies to a dynamic flow of new ideas and fresh management.

Term limits will make the transfer of power from one set of leaders to the next far simpler, weaken the influence of individual leaders, minimize corruption and promote dynamic economics.

Term limits will change the class of politicians we are able to recruit. Currently we get Politicians whose primary skill is gaining and retaining political power. By reducing the barriers to entry we get a selection process that will far better favor performers.

By forcing representatives into the private sector we ensure that they act in our best interests, because they will live the rest of their lives as one of us.

We should implement this immediately.

Here is how we should do it in South Africa – we should appeal to the rank and file members of political parties (they have the most to gain from immediate access to power). Parties that should have no problem signing up : ANC, DA, EFF, COPE, IFP, PAC. There may be some ill fated resistance incumbent leaders, but they are far out numbered by the next generation.

With the wide spread support of a near consensus, we draw up and pass a constitutional amendment and pass it at the next sitting of Parliament. By the end of April we should have been able to exclude about 25% of current representatives from further polical participation. With enough goodwill a new fresh South Africa can arise in May.

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Comment by Philip Copeman on April 11, 2017 at 1:30pm

I would like to engage with you on the #termlimits initiative.

1) We would want a minimum of support from ANC, DA and EFF with sufficient but not necessary support from Cope, ACDP, Inkartha, CP, UDM for a near unanimous  Constitutional Amendment with immediate effect. 

3) Gives us a clean sweep of all "old" representative and ushers in a "new" management at both legislative and executive level. It gushes in the opportunity for all the career politicians to come down from public life and enjoy the fruits of their labors in a private South Africa.

4) By way of clarification - 8 years means any position. So Maimane and Malema would have around 3 years left each. All the millennials would have to vacate. By way of clarification President, most NEC members of ANC and DA, Cope,Inkartha, ACDP, CP.

5) Neither you or I is standing for any representation. Our roles are as facilitators, getting all the political parties, most particularly the incumbents, who will be most effected by #termlimits , to commit their support.

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