Don’t even think about it, Mahlobo

CityPress - - Voices -

The mere thought that State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo is con­sid­er­ing reg­u­lat­ing so­cial me­dia is bad enough. We don’t have to wait for him to ac­tu­ally im­ple­ment it to let him know that it would not be ac­cept­able in a con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy.

At any rate, Mahlobo is al­ready bat­tling with the work­load be­fore him, so he’d best not take on any other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

This is a min­is­ter who has missed so much hap­pen­ing around him, in­clud­ing ma­jor out­breaks of vi­o­lence around the coun­try, such as in Tsh­wane after Thoko Didiza was an­nounced as ANC may­oral can­di­date last year.

Mahlobo could not even reg­u­late him­self when he vis­ited a brothel in Mpumalanga and hob­nobbed with a well-known rhino poacher – ma­jor slip-ups for a se­cu­rity min­is­ter.

In the same brief­ing where Mahlobo flagged the idea of reg­u­la­tion, he also spewed con­spir­acy the­o­ries about how in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions were try­ing to over­throw Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s regime. This is the kind of stuff he feeds the su­per­sti­tious Zuma and what prob­a­bly keeps him in his job.

The the­o­ries are ob­vi­ously also used to sup­port the case to med­dle in peo­ple’s pri­vate spa­ces. Over time, South Africa has par­tic­u­larly de­vel­oped a ro­bust me­dia, an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­ciary and a dy­namic so­ci­ety that takes to the streets to march over all sorts of is­sues. And this is how it should be.

By try­ing to in­trude into this space, Mahlobo is prov­ing the be­lief that, as the gov­ern­ing party is los­ing power, it in­creas­ingly turns to au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism to con­trol peo­ple’s think­ing.

Mahlobo said “even the best democ­ra­cies that are revered, reg­u­late the space”. We are wait­ing for him to give ex­am­ples of th­ese “best democ­ra­cies”.

China, per­haps? Zim­babwe, even?

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