Political parties’ culture privileges men – Ramphele

2013-04-11 14:49

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Politicians are not being held properly accountable because of the country’s strong masculine political culture, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has said.

“At the heart of the problem in our country is a political culture – found among all political parties – which privileges men at the expense of other social groups, and which privileges political parties at the expense of individuals,” Ramphele said in speaking notes prepared for delivery today.

“In our male-dominated and party-oriented democracy, the link between political parties and citizens is extremely weak and in some instances non-existent.”

Ramphele was speaking at a round-table seminar on electoral reform at the University of SA (Unisa).

When Ramphele launched her party political platform, Agang SA, in February she called for a new system in which voters in geographic constituencies could choose their MPs directly, instead of having MPs chosen by party bosses.

“Political loyalty supersedes individual or human rights.

“The loyalty problem is complicated by factors such as race, ethnicity, and religion,” she said.

This explained why it was possible for Parliament to table and pass the Traditional Courts Bill, which blatantly violated human and gender rights.

Only when there was a fundamental change in South Africa’s political culture would the country be able to build meaningful accountability in its political system, Ramphele said.

“Changing the electoral clause of our Constitution is long overdue.

“Agang SA is determined to pursue this electoral clause change in order to transform the politics of South Africa into a caring political culture which puts the country and its people ahead of leaders,” she said.

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