Our politi­cians need to be­have bet­ter

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - KC Ben­ing Witkop­pie Ridge, Boks­burg

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.

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