Nothing brings politicians together more than greed

2008-11-22 00:00

The relationship between the ruling party and the opposition parties has not always been a healthy one as, in some instances, the latter criticises the former for the sake of it and it while the ruling party, in some instances, develops a bad attitude towards contributions from the opposition parties, even when the contribution is valid.

Parties argue and disagree on every matter except when it comes to the issue of their remuneration. No issue comes close to the number of votes salary increases for parliamentarians get while they point fingers at teachers, policemen and other civil servants when they indulge in industrial action.

In the case of politicians, it is worse because they are the player and referee by unilaterally deciding on a matter that directly affects them. I have always maintained that despite the political party they come from, politicians are all cut from the same cloth.

When it was announced that KwaZulu-Natal’s finance portfolio committee had suggestion funding for the province’s political parties to the tune of R20 million, I expected opposition parties to oppose the move.

However, I was surprised by the Democratic Alliance’s silence on the matter and the Inkatha Freedom Party leader in the legislature Lionel Mtshali’s statement that this is a welcome move as it would stop private funders from dictating to parties they had funded on matters relating to governance. Perhaps Mtshali should tell the public how funders affect them as a party.

The IFP agrees to party funding because it will get the second biggest chunk, courtesy of the taxpayer. It’s also convenient for the African National Congress to come up with this party funding scheme as it will get more than R10 million (more than 50%) of the R20 million.

This opens the floodgates for big provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape to say that they will allocate about (hypothetically) R100 million for party funding, which will turn into a free for all and one that is subjective and unregulated.

This just goes to show that nothing brings politicians together more than greed and lust for power.

Conveniently, the ANC has finally done away with the floor-crossing legislation just in time for Shikota-wannabes to cross over and rob them of their seats.

However, what is important is that the floor-crossing legislation was the brainchild of opposition parties which, after realising that it would take at least 20 years to beat the ANC at the polls, devised a way to expedite this and shorten the 20 years.

It backfired and the ANC grew even stronger. The Shikota crew must be careful that its strategy does not have an unintended effect on the ANC and strengthen it instead.

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