Congress of the People is distressed that Ban Ki-moon, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and other international leaders had to demand action from the government to quell xenophobic attacks. It is sad, very sad, that for the first time in our democracy we have to witness the deployment of the army in civilian areas. For too long, leaders of the ruling party refused to shed the scales on their eyes and refused to listen to what we we…re urging and asking.
On February 19, 2014, I asked President Zuma, in stark terms, in the state-of-the-nation debate in parliament, “Is it any wonder that township after township in the province you govern are going up in flames?” I sketched the problems people were experiencing in our townships and challenged him to deal with them.
Earlier, I had submitted the following written question to President Zuma –
(a) How many sustainable jobs have been created in terms of the government’s plan to create 500 000 jobs with the R20 billion that has been budgeted over three years as a job stimulus package to create new jobs and (b) what number of people who had lost their jobs since 2009
had been re-employed in their former line of employment? NO3947E
We have known from 2009 that job creation was not taking place at the rate our country needed. It was clear that joblessness was going to fuel social unrest and xenophobia. Government borrowed heaps of money and misspent it. Today we have a massive debt, a bloated government and no jobs.
Many others have also pleaded with government to address the tension systemically. Zackie Achmat, for example, warned government that “the violent political language and angry rhetoric which has entered much of the political debate in government circles over the past decade also needs to be resoundingly condemned, not merely for furthering the ambitions of race chauvinists and black supremacists in government circles, but also for instigating crimes against humanity”.
Ruling party MPs deified Zuma. In their eyes, he is always right. In their view he was leading South Africa in the right direction.
Our view was that parliament should impeach Zuma. In our view, President Zuma had to go.
The blindness of the ruling party is making South Africa blind. The deafness of the ruling party is making South Africa deaf. That is why we have become the skunks of the world again.
By not following the Mandela way, which we have continuously argued for, the present government is plunging the country into chaos. The deployment of the army is a manifestation of failed leadership. The government kept classifying xenophobia as criminality and its refusal to stare the problem in the face has disgraced us internationally and put our economy under severe pressure.
Clearly President Zuma must go or the country will suffer irreparable harm.
Issued by Mosiuoa Lekota, Mosiuoa Lekota is the President of COPE.