#NationalShutDown - Parliament ignores the people. Again.

2015-10-21 15:35

As parliament commenced with the Minister of Finance making his medium term budget statement and students were bombarded with stun grenades, something broke in South Africa's democracy.

President Jacob Zuma and his ANC government sat in yesterday's parliamentary sitting as students were beaten by police just outside the National Assembly chamber. The Parliamentary precinct is a National Key Point and is as such subject to rigorous security controls. That students broke security barriers, in a move never before seen in the new democracy, was indeed a security breach.

However, was it unwarranted? Can we say that we must suspend moral conscience and continue to hide behind the convenience of protocol, while crisis brews?

Our country is plagued by rampant corruption. Our democracy is being hollowed from within as vulgar bureaucratic inefficiency parasites public money. Yet, despite the little delivery that South Africans receive, the more they are expected to pay. It would be a dream come true for the money squandered on corruption, to be spent on education. Perhaps a bridge too far.

And yesterday, our government showed South Africans that they are not accountable to the people. Despite the fact that this was a lapse in parliamentary security, the police brutality was utterly unwarranted in the face of it being a peaceful demonstration.

Students are not terrorists. They, we, are the electorate. The people. And today, in Cape Town, parliament ignored the people. It reminds of the State of the Nation Address earlier in 2015, when the South African Police Service deployed water cannons to disperse opposition parties in protest in the streets of Cape Town. However, this was worse. As the grenades detonated, it was as though one could scream with frustration. Why are shots being fired? Who are they shooting?!

They were attacked children with stun grenades. And it echoed.

As though in a scene from the 1980s riots, students were pushed and shoved by public order police.

Nhlanhla Nene delivered the usual spin that is so typical of Zuma’s administration “due to a global slow down, we will not meet our target.” This, as children, who simply want to break the cycle of poverty, were beaten and dragged on the ground in the parliamentary precinct. All right beside the statue of Nelson Mandela.

And in the aftermath of police brutality, eventually, Blade Nzimande made his appearance to address the students. He tried to rally the crowd with ‘Amandla’ but it backfired. Students have been betrayed by an elite ‘leadership’ who has long since forgotten what was fought for. In the end, he cannot address the protesting students as his megaphone is loud enough. Right.

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces makes a statement at a press conference. No President. No Minister of Higher Education. No Speaker of the National Assembly. As the Acting Speaker of the National Assembly denies hearing stun grenades detonate.

When the executive turns on its people in such a brazen display of brute force in defense of itself, hope in democracy begins to fade. Something in South Africa's democracy has broken. And all the king's horses and all the king's men Cannot put Humpty together again. News24 Voices Terms & Conditions.


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