In the history of democratic South Africa, we’ve never needed Parliament more than we do now, nor found it more wanting.
Our Constitution gives Parliament the duty and the power to hold public servants accountable to ensure that they act in the national interest and to bring them in line – or fire them – when they do not. In this, Parliament is failing miserably, with devastating consequences for South Africa. There is no simple solution to this problem. South Africa needs to develop a culture of accountability. The DA is leading this charge.
On Thursday last week, Parliament debated a Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma. Our government has become a criminal syndicate headed up by a mafia boss. Our country is on hold and will not make progress until he is removed. The vast majority of Members of Parliament know without doubt that he is a huge liability to South Africa. And yet a majority – 214 out of 400 MPs – voted to retain Zuma as president.
Parliament scaled new heights of sycophancy during the Nkandla saga, going to embarrassing lengths to avoid holding the President to account. It fell to the DA and the EFF to take the matter beyond Parliament to the Constitutional Court, which delivered a hard-hitting judgment, ruling that Zuma violated the Constitution by refusing to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action on the Nkandla saga – clear grounds for impeachment.
The ConCourt also ruled that members of Parliament violated the Constitution and their oath of office by failing to hold Zuma accountable for the spending on Nkandla. This did not stop Parliament from voting unanimously in support of Zuma in the impeachment debate that followed.
These are only the most high profile of a litany of such examples. The discord between what MPs know they should do, and what they actually do plays out on a daily basis. Click here to keep reading…