Parliament deliberately filibustering
HE CHAOTIC and brutal events which have damaged the reputation of Parliament, perhaps irretrievably, fall under many headings.
Consider the following potential headlines: “Police attack opposition MPs”; “Speaker loses control of the House”; “ANC committees exonerate Zuma over Nkandla overspend”; “ANC summon police to quell pandemonium” and “Filibuster provokes government benches”.
The filibuster is a tradition in the American Senate whereby a member may speak interminably to hold up legislation, as was the case of the Civil Rights legislation in 1964.
It is obviously unpopular because it is undemocratic and deliberately time-wasting. Consequently the ANC and some of the media made much of the frivolous and absurd topics used in the filibustering.
But on the other hand consider the Zuma administration’s tactic of wasting time and obstruction before, during and after the issue of the public protector’s report. “Pandemonium”, by the way, was originally the word made up by Milton to denote the place where Satan and his legions of devils resided in Hell.
After all the sound and fury, what was the upshot? President Zuma is getting away with it, again.
Members of Parliament cannot say what is daily said all over the land. And the audio-visual line may be cut at any time.
Geoff Hughes is emeritus professor, Wits University.