The post 1994 democratic-break through in our country, presented to all democrats an opportunity to consolidate a people-centred and people-driven society anchored in principles of redress, respect of the Constitution , the rule of law, social justice and so on , through democratic processes and institutions.
Given that we are a nation-state (a constitutional democracy), in principle, the former, entrusts all democrats to uphold and abide by the constitution and realise all liberties and freedoms as institutionalized.
The latter is a means to hold the fibres of society together for the common cause and common good. It is from that view-point and in the objective reality that, there can never be a stable social formation without the enforcement of respect of people’s institution as they are instruments to protect and advance the people’s interests and aspirations.
In hindsight, South Africa as the last country to be liberated in the African continent, had more lessons to learn from other post-colonial states within the continent; the liberation movement had to set an instructive note for the future South Africa anchored in peace, reconciliation , redress, non-racialism , non-sexism , political and economic stability.The latter narrative was done with the foresight to build a truly democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and a prosperous South Africa.
It is from this backdrop, that all democracy loving citizens, cannot stand idling on the sides when institutions of democracy are undermined as we saw during “2015 State of the Nation Address” which was rowdily disrupted by men and women in red attire labelling themselves as EFF. The State of the Nation address by President Zuma – its highlights, content and essence – was heavily contested by hooliganism.
It would be economical with the truth if we can say as a nation we were not offended and many of us who watched in our TV’s had to view desperate attempts to degenerate national discourse into pandemonium. Reaction on mainstream and social media was that of a nation astonished that its representatives, with a mandate to change the lives of the people of South Africa for the better, had disintegrated to such sickening lows. All this made in our name as people who are represented in the people’s assembly.
When EFF first started with its theatrics decorated as militancy, from the day they set their feet into the National Assembly, it earned hand-clappers from some quarters who wanted us to believe that this is making parliament vibrant and holding executive accountable.
Even then it was asked as to how being rowdy and banging chairs, standing on top of tables, insults and having no regard of presidium is holding executive to account? There were no substantive responses.
In essence the very same executive is prevented from being engaged as means of holding it accountable.
TV soapies all of a sudden were outclassed by EFF and DA drama in parliament, the EFF and the ilk were determined to reduce our democratic National assembly into a theatre of stand-up comedy with cheap political scoring and foolish acts and omissions, this became their order of Parliament all in the name of grabbing headlines.
It is of course not difficult to understand the link between media establishments largely steeped in the practice of seeking alliances with and spurring on anything that sets out to weaken the ANC as well as anything that could boost their newspaper sales. The relationship between these elements and media outlets began whilst they were still in the ANC and fuelled much of the degenerate discourse that these demagogues sought to institutionalise both in the movement and the South African political space in general.
Their rhetoric; mostly racist, degenerate and insulting, secured them front page coverage in all newspapers whilst in turn the sales of these newspapers shot up. An insatiable appetite for sustaining this media status on the part of the demagogues spurred on the degenerate discourse, with each outburst seeking to outdo that of the previous week in order to retain the excitement of a cheering media.
Substance if there ever was, in alliance partners of DA and EFF was capitulated with perpetual orders, disruptions, tantrums, and walk outs etc. all this in full glare of media so as to remain apparently in the minds of the electorate.
Leading up to 12 February 2015, warning shots had been fired in the weeks leading to State of the Nation Address, with EFF insisting that it could not be forgotten during the State of the Nation Address. As it’s now a common cause EFF allowed President to begin his Address only to rudely interject and thereafter disrupt; the plan was clear and timely launched. No amount of explanation could suffice from the Presiding Officers.
Under those circumstances presidium had no other choice but to order hooligans to leave the chamber, when they brazenly defied, the ruling had to be enforced and subsequently security forces, as provided for in statutes of Parliament, had to forcefully escort those elements out of the Chamber.
It must be stated that all statutes of Parliament remain valid and therefore must be enforced, till amended by very same Parliament or declared unlawful or unconstitutional by higher courts in the land. No statute of Parliament can be repealed by proclamation of Member of Parliament, no matter how important he or she may be.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa gives powers to Parliament as an independent arm of state to enact its own laws which govern its functioning For case in point, Parliament is governed by Powers, Privileges and Immunity Act of 2004, which among other things, gives it authority to security services to ‘’perform any policing function in the precincts, only with the permission and under the authority of the Speaker or the Chairperson”. This therefore means that the presiding officers were within their rights to reinforce security and defend decorum and credence of parliament.
From patience of presiding officers it became clear that despicable conduct of EFF had nothing to do with accountability but a predetermined agenda to degrade President Zuma and hold Parliament at ransom. Such acts would have surely denied the nation the President’s speech.
For all intents and purposes this has all the elements of a coups d’ etat, in that the electorate took to voting stations and rejected the EFF overwhelmingly. With precisely 94% of the electorate rejecting this party of rejects and definite rascals. Now 25 people have the nerve of holding the entire country at ransom in the most regressive of forms and want to topple constitutional responsibility of sitting President, surely all democracy loving people have to stand up and condemn with harshest action this type of demeanour.
More often than not, as South Africa we prefer to showcase ourselves as a coherent nation, with the ability to negotiate with the socio-political vicissitudes of any given time and avert any quagmire.
We are easily disturbed by spoilers and most patient with anarchy in trust that we can reason with it and manage our differences. But arrives a time wherein, if as a country we are to go forward, differences must be resolved.
While those unfortunate parliamentary episodes must never be repeated but in the other end, dialectically they were necessary, in exposing to all sundry in South Africa, that if we do not compact the most backward tendencies in our political discourse, exist a potential that the whole country can be dispersed into jumble and lawlessness by anarchic few.
Maybe and just maybe for breaking new ground the whole country needed this spectacle inorder to unite in defeating these foreign rouge and rugged elements. This must provide a preview to the nation and instructive message that we must isolate and defeat destructive politics.
Indeed, the 2015 State of the Nations Address must be an establishing basis of cohesion of all patriots, while electorate purging itself of such elements come 2016 local government elections, as the price of not doing so could be awful, for all democracy loving people.
Thanks to their act, now it should be known by all sundry that that EFF politics provides nothing but loud anarchic, regressive elements of our society. It is in the open now that EFF demagogues in their founding leaders have a living legacy as people that cannot be relied upon to act in a manner that venerates democratic ideals let alone to lead a project that is a radical or guardian of democracy. In any case, their political mileage rests fully on a racially charged rhetoric that harps on the real trappings of radicalised inequalities.
Article by Mawethu Rune