Give Mbete a chance to pre­side freely

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

THE SPEAKER of the Na­tional Assem­bly has been ac­cused of many wrongs by the op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment, but her great­est crime is this, and this only: She is a woman.

While the voices in the ANC Women’s League call­ing for a woman pres­i­dent have been grow­ing louder, the op­po­si­tion has sought to prove to us all that a woman is in­ca­pable of han­dling such pow­er­ful po­si­tions as that of the Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Stereo­types such as racism and sex­ism have be­come so­phis­ti­cated to pin­point in post-1994 South Africa that one must read be­tween the lines to un­der­stand them well.

We have seen, for in­stance, the stark dis­tinc­tion be­tween the op­po­si­tion’s be­hav­iour when Mbete pre­sides and when the Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, takes over the reigns.

At a cer­tain point the op­po­si­tion clapped hands and cheered loudly when Mbete had to be re­placed by her deputy, after she had been given a tor­rid time by the same op­po­si­tion mem­bers.

This is un­called for. As a per­son who speaks from an in­de­pen­dent point of view, with­out the bias of be­long­ing to any po­lit­i­cal party and con­se­quently with the ad­van- tage of read­ing be­tween the lines, I be­lieve we should give a chance to Mbete and al­low her to pre­side freely, with­out nec­es­sar­ily treat­ing her with kid gloves.

It is sad that the high­est leg­isla­tive house of the coun­try de­lib­er­ately treats a woman leader in such a fash­ion, just to prove a point – that she is in­ca­pable of lead­ing due to her be­ing a woman.

We should equally call for Mbete to pre­side fairly and not ex­pect that she will be treated with kid gloves just be­cause she is fe­male.

Tem­bisile Makgatho

Tem­bisa, Kemp­ton Park

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