Beware the ANC’s Thought Police!

2014-06-09 05:34

The ANC Chief Whip in parliament, Stone Sizane has lodged a formal complaint with the SAHRC (Human Rights Commission) against three individuals/institutions on the grounds that they have disregarded “the right to dignity, freedom of association and political choice” following the passage of the May 7 general elections. In an astonishing tirade following the final announcement of election results, he argued that they acted in a way that makes them guilty of racial intolerance and demonstrates “growing coercive intolerance of the governing establishment”. Sounds absurd? Like the pot calling the kettle?

You bet it does.

In making such allegations the ANC is demonstrating a form of narcissistic personality disorder. It bemoans that fact that, having won the elections by a substantial margin, it still gets disparaged by some, lampooned by others, and that many – most notably those of generally higher intelligence – still oppose it.

Thus it transfers or “projects” its intolerance onto those who it can silence only with coercion.

Such action is anathema to democracy itself. He argued that certain “conduct and utterances” following the general election, sought “to undermine the dignity and rights of over 11 million voters who elected the ANC into office” - a pitiful argument aimed at intimidating people exercising their right to a contrary opinion and free speech, and attacking freedom of expression into the bargain.

The lodging of such a complaint is ominous and accentuates the cognitive shortcomings of both the ruling party and its constituency.

It even calls into doubt the ultimate viability of our rickety democracy, and points to an ever growing coercive ethos: if you do not subscribe to the struggle’s liturgy and avoid its heresies you are to be brought to heel through coercion and intimidation. To piss onto the ruling party’s tent – whether through simple parody, cartoons or free speech – calls for censure and inquisition.

It also highlights another psychological disorder. The hyper-sensitivity of a party having won over 60% of the vote to cartoons and tweets is disturbing, and demonstrates an insecurity born of intellectual and cultural inadequacy; one that reflects a psychosis explainable only by congenital incompetence and ineptitude.

The Chief Whip’s objection to the HRC covered three issues –

• a silly but understandable tweet;

• an EWN (Eye Witness News) cartoon; and

• something the Public Protector said at a university address

Let us consider them.

The first is a tweet by a DA official portraying a queue of dogs waiting to make their mark on voting day - with each doing so by peeing on a picture of the president standing against a tree.

Given that the government had already won the election by a substantial margin - and notwithstanding the nation’s precarious and worsening condition in many spheres (the economy, unemployment and education, for example) - it would seem reasonable to lampoon and ridicule those “making of a mark” in support of a party causing the problems at the outset. The “marking of territory” in preference to the active pursuit of solutions seems central to South Africa’s socio economic problems – and is profoundly sad and dysfunctional.

And if that insults those of the electorate who fail to connect the dots, surely it is high time they heard about it?

Of course, just how the tweet in question promoted “racism” remains unclear – unless, of course, only black voters were permitted to vote for the ANC in the elections? But to concede that would surely expose the party to having an exclusive racial identity. Not good PR - even if true.

Secondly, the Eyewitness News cartoon lampoons dud ministers whom Zuma has shuffled around in his new cabinet because of their loyalty, with all the ministers featured being notorious for their incompetence, shenanigans and/or criminal activities. The voters who enabled their entering office are depicted in the cartoon as “the clowns (or poephols)”, with the obvious suggestion that worse could come as they are let loose on new portfolios.

Does it really seem unreasonable to expose that likelihood?

Finally the third reason for the Chief Whip’s complaint is that public protector Thuli Madonsela suggested that ANC supporters are analogous to abused spouses. In relation to a question on voting patterns, she is on record as saying the following at a UJ presentation–

"Often the people they will vote in are people who made mistakes previously. I don't think it is necessarily an endorsement of wrongdoing. It is probably in the hope that this time you are going to do things differently and you are going to do things better. It's like an abused spouse, really."

Sizane is of the opinion that such utterances represent an “unprecedented public onslaught" on ANC voters and that these slights deny the people “the right to dignity, freedom of association, and political choice”. Funny - I thought they had just made their choice on May 7?

Furthermore, I had also imagined that the rights to dignity and freedom of association had enabled them to make their crosses in the first place.

Given that the vision of the SAHRC is stated as being “to transform society, secure rights and restore dignity” it will be interesting to see how it reacts to the Chief Whip’s specious application – and all the more so given its dodgy track record.

It will be both an interesting bell weather on the nation's trajectory and an indicator of the extent to which basic individual liberties are likely to come under sustained attack from the state.

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