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What MP Bongani Mkongi did is totally unacceptable, politically irresponsible and morally condemnable. No person who is elected as an MP and therefore sworn to uphold the Constitution can openly and brazenly incite people to commit an illegal act of tearing down a ‘Zuma must fall’ banner that someone had unlawfully hung on the side of the building and set that building on fire.

His call for the innocent residents of the building to be burnt along with the building is a new low in South African politics. Where is the ruling party recruiting its MPs from and what sort of sifting is it doing? Is this the best it can offer South Africa? Furthermore, what sort of political training is the ruling party giving its cadres and what ethical standards is it holding them up to? He has shocked South Africa with what he urged in his Facebook posting.

For a ruling party MP in democratic South Africa to call for innocent people to be burnt along with a building is an indication to South Africa and the world that ANC members are readily willing to contemplate mob justice and overthrow the rule of law. The damage that Bongani Mkongi’s statement will do to South Africa is going to be irreparable and immeasurable. It stinks to high heavens.

The ANC has not done itself any favour either. Its response has been totally inadequate and indulgent. It did not register the sense of shock at the depravity of “They must burn to death as it is life for them to keep it that way.” If this is how a lawmaker in the ruling party’s ranks can think and respond and his party fails to make an example of him, hope is lost.

Every political party has to have a social media code for posting for its members. It is shocking that the ANC did not reveal what its code is and did not declare to the public that Bongani Mkongi was going to be charged for breaching that code and bringing the ANC into gross disrepute.

COPE calls upon the police to arrest Mkongi on a charge of incitement to violence, arson and the possibility of murder. If the ANC does not suspend him and does not withdraw him as a Member of Parliament until his case is concluded in court, it will say to the nation that the ruling party is condoning the sentiment he expressed. It is that serious!

Issued by Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson


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