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MIcheal Rhodes
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11 January 2014, 23:27

As many of you may know. I am a loyal member of the African National Congress. Say what you want about it, it is my constitutional right to support any party I want. Now that that’s out of the way; I do feel for South Africa to truly work, we need a strong opposition party.

I believe in a democracy, but I believe for a democracy to truly work we need a stronger opposition. That being said, we as members of the ANC and all our leaders should not be complacent and silence the voice of the opposition. We may not want to agree with them, but we need to listen to them, analyse what they say and use it to better South Africa for all our people. Harry Truman said:

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

The latter quote envelopes the importance of opposition and the importance of us respecting them. Our fathers have fought too long and hard for this beautiful land, we dare not allow arrogance and complacency to impugn their struggle.

We need a stronger opposition, not one who merely ridicule everything we do. It become somewhat fruitless to debate someone who opposes you merely for the sake of opposing as the said debate would go on ad nauseam without any solutions. This is not the job of the opposition. Opposition like that, seems to be power hungry and electioneering rather than voicing the true concern of the people they too wish to govern.

In South Africa all opposition parties seem to have one thing in common; they are anti ANC, rather than pro South African. Some parties and their supporters would have you believe that they are the epitome of intellect and yet they fail to see that in their condescending undertones they are campaigning more for the ANC than the ANC itself. Fact is; I may not have a degree on my wall or have the same education as you, I may to be as articulate as you, but you cannot insult me by calling me a stupid sheep and then expect me to support your political party. It will never work like that.

Our opposition parties seem to be so caught up in their own ambition that they do not see the issues. For instance; you complain about affirmative action. You say it lower standards. In the same light you complain about Zuma’s alleged plan to change the constitution. What the clever people seem to be forgetting is that the constitution in its equality clause pertinently provides for affirmative measures to redress certain issues. What they also seem to be forgetting or rather refuse to see is that section 7 of the said constitution places a positive duty on state to promote the ideals in it. Point I’m making, the opposition to affirmative action and in the same light Zuma’s alleged plan to change the constitution is mutually destructive. Funny thing is the same opposition parties were complaining about both the above. Was the genuine concern or merely electioneering? I would have understood if your opposition to affirmative action was in light of the fact that it does little, too little for rural development and that some who benefit from it does not need it as they grew up with the same silver spoon as some of their white peers. Opposition parties don’t argue like that, as that would be touching an issue which is worth debating and which could be resolved by fruitful debates.

To me the last opposition leader (some of my comrades may disagree with me), was Tony Leon. Removing all political blinkers now; the reason why I have more respect for Mr Leon than latter-day opposition leaders is that he voiced concerns rather than merely opposing. We may not agreed with him, but at least he did not play the role of the proverbial empty tin. We need opposition leaders like that. Our leaders then need to be mindful of the fact that not all voted for us, albeit we are the majority we cannot make light of the concerns of the minority. That’s a lesson we can learn from our erstwhile president, Nelson Mandela. I would like to leave you with the words of one of my favourite philosophers, to wit Mr Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

“In the strict sense of the term, a true democracy has never existed, and never will exist. It is against natural order that the great number should govern and that the few should be governed.”

Hope you and your political parties all the best for the coming elections, p.s if you want to be more than mere opposition parties, do more than merely oppose.

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