It is hard to avoid a sense of futility. Didn’t Einstein advise us that madness is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting a different result?
Again and again the ruling Party has used its majority to shut down voices of opposition, protect its president, and get its way. We saw it with the Secrecy Bill. We saw it with Nkandla. We saw it with every Motion of No Confidence brought to this House. Long before that, I saw it in Cabinet, when an excellent immigration bill was quickly changed by the ANC majority.
We should not be surprised. President Zuma himself has told us that the majority has more rights than the minority. That, according to the ANC, is the way democracy operates. So why would today’s exercise achieve anything different?
There are only two things that give it impetus. The first is that we are morally obliged to express the concerns of millions of South Africans over the state of leadership in our country. The second is that ANC members themselves are increasingly losing confidence in the President. According to the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 50% of ANC supporters distrust their own party’s President.
This has somehow given hope to members of the opposition that, this time, members in the ANC might vote with their conscience, rather than blindly toeing the line.
But I have been in politics for more than six decades. I have seen enough to know that a leopard doesn’t change its spots.
Over 22 years, I have supported our presidents when they do what is good and right. But when they are wrong, and their actions damaging, I freely speak.
Through acts of omission and commission, this President has failed our country. And the ANC, with all its structures, has failed to advise or correct him. They have offered him no assistance whatsoever. I have tried to advise the President, as I did on his appointment of a Police Commissioner. But he didn’t listen, and not a single structure of the ANC assisted him to heed good advice.
I have never spoken nor acted to undermine the President. But neither has his own Party acted or spoken to prevent him from damaging his office and country.
It rests with the ANC to examine their conscience. If the captain of their ship cannot be advised or corrected, who does it serve to keep him at the helm? Clearly, it does not serve South Africa.