We can’t trust the ANC not to undermine our democracy

2012-03-24 09:55

Frans Cronje
Deputy CEO, Unit for Risk Analysis, South African Institute of Race Relations

Cyril Ramaphosa writes in your newspaper (Alarmist headlines bode ill for logical and rational debate, March 11 2012) that it is untrue to suggest that the ANC would “reverse the country’s democratic gains, erode constitutional freedoms, and undermine the independence of the judiciary”.

The question that Mr Ramaphosa fails to confront is why so many of his party colleagues are proposing policies that will do exactly this.

Is he suggesting that we should not believe senior leaders in the ANC when they describe the judiciary as actively seeking to prevent transformation?

Should we not take the government seriously when it proposes, in the Green Paper on Land Reform, restricting the terms under which we can own property?

Has the Protection of State Information Bill been a figment of our imaginations? Is it ignorance that sees society protest when the ruling party in government proposes polices that will see journalists jailed for doing their jobs?

No.

These are all real threats that go to the very heart of our democratic culture. To ask that we trust in the ANC not to act on these proposals is to ask that we throw that culture to the wolves.

Just two pages earlier in the same edition of your newspaper Adriaan Basson (“A political solution that killed”) exposes what happened to former ANC councillor, Moss Phakoe, when he trusted the ANC to be sincere in its promises to root out corruption.

Despite seven separate efforts to make the party aware of corruption plaguing the North West ANC, including a meeting with President Jacob Zuma, Mr Phakoe was eventually assassinated – allegedly by those he sought to implicate.

I am afraid that when Mr Ramaphosa asks us to trust the same ANC and the same president not to undermine our democratic freedoms we cannot take him seriously.

This is a great pity.

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