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The deathly silence from ANC MPs regarding the destructive censorship of the SABC by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Faith Muthambi indicates the extent to which parliament’s role in exercising scrutiny on the public broadcaster has withered.

There was a time not too long ago when Africa and the word admired both our parliament as well as the SABC. They were seen as institutions singularly belonging to the people and fulsomely serving the people. Not so anymore. Both have regressed dangerously since 2009 to become shadows of their former selves and betrayers of their respective mandates.

There was a time when we as MPs belonged there and used these institutions to serve the people without any kind of constraints. The Tim Modise show was popular and many of us as MPs regularly participated on that show. We were reaching out to the people and listening to the people who were reaching out to us.

Today, ruling party MPs are “mutists”. They think nothing, they see nothing, they say nothing. They are the “mutist” MPs of South Africa.

Mr Zuma who has an antipathy towards smart and educated people, matched ferociously by Hlaudi Motsoeneng, wants South Africa to be mute also while insurgency grows and the National Treasury is rapidly depleted by the political elite through state capture at every level.

Today, to vote for the ANC is literally to vote for the ANC to have “party” time in both senses of that word. The ANC parties as a party like no other party can. The poor and destitute, meanwhile, are forced to skip a meal and go to bed hungry.

Only those who are too blind to see will continue to place faith in Mr Zuma. Faith Muthambi and Hlaudi Motsoeneng to preserve our democracy, uphold the Constitution and grow the economy for the benefit of the nation.

COPE repeats that “democratic autocracy” and one party rule have begun to gnaw at our democracy from all sides. This is therefore a time for all of us to stop the speak up and to support SANEF. This is the time for all of us to stop the immolation of our democracy. We cannot be mere uninvolved bystanders while journalist of great integrity and competence are being bullied, stifled and muzzled. If all that was bad under PW Botha continues under Mr Zuma, South Africans will have to invoke Nelson Mandela and do to the ANC what we did to the NP.

Under PW Botha we had no democracy. Today we have the democracy we dreamed of. Then we had to fight for freedom of expression. Now that we have it, it is much easier to stand up in full force in defence of that freedom. This freedom is being eroded daily by the Zuma-Muthambi-Motsoeneng axis.

The power is in the hands of the people. The people of South Africa are sovereign. The people must use their power to severely chasten the ruling party at the polls. All of us must do so to preserve our democracy and keep our country safe, stable and prosperous.

Issued by COPE

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