DA out for Blade’s blood

2011-02-16 12:59

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today called for Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande to resign because of a statement he made in the National Assembly yesterday.

“Time and again minister Nzimande has demonstrated through his words and his actions that he is not fit to be a Cabinet minister, let alone at the helm of a ministry that is supposed to be the custodian of critical and engaged thinking,” DA spokesperson Wilmot James said.

“He is a disgrace to our parliamentary system and constitutional democracy.”

Nzimande’s latest reduction of legitimate criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s administration to inappropriate and derogatory racial terms merely confirmed his unsuitability.

In his speech during a debate on Zuma’s State of the Nation address, Nzimande, “lacking the wit” to address James’s concerns about the state of education legitimately, decided to resort to “crude name-calling and portray the administration as helpless victims of a race conspiracy”.

Nzimande said: “If the matric results are bad, this is taken as proof that this government of darkies is incapable.

“If the matric pass rate goes up, it means the results have been manipulated by these darkies.”

James said Nzimande could play the game of racial victimisation as much as he liked in private. That was his business.

“However, in our country’s most important forum for debating issues that affect the lives of all South Africans, he should at least treat the issues at hand with the respect that they deserve and not with utter contempt.”

Parliament could not be treated “like the politburo of the South African Communist Party, where outdated rhetoric of battles long since fought are the order of the day”.

James said he had raised legitimate issues of concern to all who cared about education in South Africa, specifically the question of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

In his State of the Nation address last year, Zuma had pledged that teachers would always be in school and teaching, with no exceptions tolerated.

“Then, last year, the administration looked on dumbfounded as Sadtu brought the education system to a grinding halt for three weeks and, in certain instances, destroyed school property and threatened students and other teachers.”

Sadtu’s “activism” had been a leading factor in crippling Eastern Cape’s education system.

“Additionally, as far as matric results go, if minister Nzimande is so confident of all the processes involved, why does he simply not state the facts?

“Well, perhaps it is because the fact is that the standards board, Umalusi, practised grade inflation, leaving matric results an uncertain determinant of education success, as most education analysts agree.

“We thought that the era of cheap racial politicking, President Mbeki’s favoured response to criticism, had died with his administration.”

“However, it seems that the paranoia that relies on such cheap ripostes runs very deep indeed. Minister Nzimande should be ashamed. He should leave and leave now,” James said.

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