NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: TUESDAY, 08 SEPTEMBER 2014 MS LL VAN DER MERWE MP:
I wish to thank the my Party for placing this motion on the order paper. This is indeed a matter that goes to the very heart of our democracy. It is with a sense of awe that one considers the success of our diverse nation over the past 20 years. Our national days such as Freedom Day, Heritage Day, and others should therefore be celebrated by all South Africans in the pursuit of nation building and social cohesion. They should evoke the spirit of humanity and tolerance which characterises our progressive Constitution. Yet, instead of evoking tolerance, these days are increasingly hijacked by the ANC for their own narrow purposes. This is wrong and it must change. The closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women Campaign was case in point. Not only did it exclude the voices of opposition parties but instead turned into a pre-Manguang ANC rally. Held at in the North West on the 10th of December 2012, in the midst of opposition MPs such as myself this function descended into chaos, as former Deputy President Motlanthe’s and President Zuma’s supporters became very vocal in punting for his leadership of the ANC. Even Correctional Services’ officials also joined in the pre-Mangaung fanfare. This was a Government function paid for by the taxpayer. ANC politicking should not have been allowed under any circumstances. We reported this matter to the Public Protector. She has since received many similar complaints. On my second outing to one of these functions I was the IFP speaker at the Human Rights celebrations. Arriving there, I had thought that maybe I had taken a wrong turn and arrived at Luthuli House. Throughout the day scores of ANC supporters were bussed in and eventually opposition party speakers were booed. Is this what we call nation-building Hon Speaker? And again, during the Women’s Day Celebrations in KwaZulu Natal the women of the IFP we turned away by members in ANC t-shirts; robbing them of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in a nation-building exercise. There are many more examples one can site. These actions points only to one thing: the abuse of taxpayer money, and abuse of power on behalf of the state. We must act now to safeguard our democracy. Increasingly, the line between the State and the ANC is eroding. Therefore, eroding the fundamental values of our hard-won democracy. The abuse of state funds for the benefit of the ANC is illegal, and is a breach of that promise to all South Africans. In conclusion, Hon Speaker, Alan Paton once described liberalism in 1953: “by liberalism I don’t mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance of authoritarianism and a love of freedom.” This sums up the values our national days should espouse. If not, our fledgling democracy will continue to falter in our pursuit of social cohesion and nation building.