Our politicians need to behave better
I can’t decide which political entity holds the moral high ground
CONCERNED South Africans have observed with alarm the rapid deterioration of our first democratic Parliament.
There was a time when political support was a simple choice. The apartheid regime were clearly the oppressors, while the ANC and other liberation movements decidedly held the moral high ground.
We experienced a honeymoon period under the Mandela presidency where all the racist legislation was flushed down the toilet bowl of history.
Also, to a certain extent, with the Mbeki leadership whereby his astute economic largesse ensured a new era of prosperity, while his administration sought to restore African pride with a strong reconciliatory mantra.
Since then it has been a downward trajectory to malaise with sad consequences especially for our economy, now reeling from multiple downgrades caused by a marked decline in investor confidence.
I can’t decide which political entity holds the moral high ground in contemporary politics, if such a moral animal actually exists.
The government has sunk to depths seldom encountered during the apartheid madness. Who would have thought that only 20 short years into our democracy an intolerant ANC government would deploy a contingent of riot police into the House to brawl with “honourable” members, and MPs would engage in cat fights?
I see scant distinction between the government bullying and the rabble of the opposition parties who have reduced Parliament to a farce, which would make a schoolyard fracas seem like a Sunday school picnic. What a pathetic example those public officials are showing to the next generation. If schoolchildren are averse to what is happening in the classroom, should they follow the example of opposition politicians and shout the teacher down with a cacophony of insults?
Apart from the few political analysts of the stature of Steven Friedman who present a balanced perspective, much of the media and many political commentators have displayed bias praising the opposition’s tactics. I was shocked to hear veteran Max du Preez saying the behaviour was a fitting counter to ANC excesses.
Such critics seem to see nothing amiss in the DA trying to outdo the EFF in buffoonery, because the media has averred they had lost political clout compared to the ANCYL breakaway brats. Much as I’m averse to ANC hegemony and blind loyalty to President Zuma’s shenanigans, governments around the world exploit their majority status – which the electorate has accorded them and have given carte blanche to pursue their policy ideals.
I implore fellow South Africans to hold their preferred political parties to account.
We all crave a government of integrity – something lacking of late.
And surely opposition supporters want to see a dignified strategy from their party, diligently engaged in intellectual parliamentary debate, and pursuing the policies and party manifestos they were voted into office to champion, instead of embarking on boycotts outside the chambers of Parliament.
It is not an overstatement to say that our country is at a crossroads.
We can either take the principled high road to a united bright future or stagger along the rocky path to oblivion.
My belief is that we still have the calibre of people to achieve the high road scenario, but only if the citizenry, who are the actual backbone of our nation, insist our political and economic leaders draw back from the abyss, regain their dignity and strive to achieve the Madiba legacy of being exemplary members of the league of nations.
The inter-party meeting chaired by Deputy President Ramaphosa could be a good start.
Our children deserve nothing less than our total endeavour to achieve national moral rectitude.
After being in the political wilderness for some time, I yearn to find a political home I can be proud of and trust to navigate the country to a prosperous future.