Why are they silent?

2008-08-01 00:00

I am really confused. I thought that it was a benevolent democracy in which we are living. I believed the words of the Freedom Charter which began ... “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”

I voted for the 1993 interim and the 1996 final Constitution in the firm belief that the work of Cyril Ramaphosa and his team of diverse negotiators had produced a lasting framework for a peaceful South Africa. As its very basis this framework proclaimed as a major goal to … “heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”, and to “lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which the government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law”. These were the goals of the vast majority of South Africans.

But today the Constitution is being virtually ignored as personal ambitions and greed have taken over in the ruling political party.

The leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema, says that he is prepared to take up arms and kill for Jacob Zuma. Not a single ANC leader has called him to account. That being the case, I believe Malema. He meant what he said. And the ANC seems to back him. The secretary general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, an unreconstructed Stalinist communist, repeated this sentiment and went on to bring into doubt the integrity of the highest court in our land. No single ANC leader has contradicted, let alone reprimanded him. I believe Mantashe and fear for the sanctity of our Constitution and the rule of law.

Zuma obviously gave no thought to precedents when he proclaimed that the ANC would rule until the second coming of Jesus. Although there is no connection between them, it was Adolf Hitler who proclaimed a 1 000-year Third Reich, which in the event lasted only 12 years. Ian Smith predicted white leadership in Rhodesia for 1 000 years, but it lasted less than 20 years after his first election to power.

Zuma forgets that our Constitution provides free elections at five-year intervals on national, provincial and municipal levels. He also forgets that in the tide of history things change, people change, and in democracies, governments change. The further uncontradicted words of the youth leader bother me, especially his promise to “eli- minate the remnants of the counter-revolution, which include the Democratic Alliance (DA) and a loose coalition that wants to use state power to block the ANC’s president ascending to the highest office of the land.”

What does eliminate mean? Who are the counter-revolutionaries? Where is the revolution? I thought that the armed revolution ceased long before the 1994 free general election.

No, let us not play games. These are Stalinist words, contemptuous of democracy and a constitutional state.

I am amazed not by these stridently ominous statements, but rather that no responsible leading ANC figure has had the guts to contradict these destructive comments.

Where is Cyril Ramaphosa? Is he not appalled by the obvious trampling on our Constitution. Why does he not speak up, or does political party loyalty trump loyalty to the Constitution and our country? Our president, having signed a document in Zimbabwe that Robert Mugabe will probably ignore from day one, is probably out of the country or holed up in one or other closed meeting, so don’t expect to hear from him anytime soon.

Where is the much-respected Tokyo Sexwale, a Zuma man yes, but nonetheless a true believer in the rule of law and of the Constitution? Why is he silent? Why does he not reprimand Zwelinzima Vavi who says that ministers who do not follow orders will be sacked ?

Where are the honest ANC MPs who are forced to sit next to parliamentary colleagues whose Travelgate scam involvement goes unpunished? Are they not uncomfortable, or is this a field of dishonesty and corruption they fear to tackle? Where is Trevor Manuel whose policies and financial strategies are being rubbished every day by the ANCYL, by the South African Communist Party and by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)? Surely he is not too intimidated to speak up and defend his views?

Why should the country without a murmur countenance the obvious purges, which post-Polokwane, are taking place at premier, provincial, mayoral and even parliamentary level as a silent, almost clandestine communist/Cosatu coup d’état that is taking over in the ANC?

But enough, although there is much more to write about the failure to curb crime, about the thousands, perhaps millions, still living in poverty, about corruption in high places, about our failed education system and unemployment, about the critical mismanagement of our electricity supply and about the disgraceful internal violence committed by ANC members on their so- called “comrades”, the message is clear.

Make no error, the behaviour of senior ANC office bearers poses a threat to our Constitution, the integrity of the courts, the Human Rights Commission and the rule of law.

It is time to give the ANC a “wake up” call. A severe jolt from the public at large. And the time to do this is near, as near as the next general election due early in 2009.

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