Magnus Heystek would have us believe that South Africa is on the precipice of becoming a failed state, and the events in Parliament on November 13 2014 may on the surface seem to confirm his analysis.
The incursion by the police riot squad into the chamber of Parliament to enforce the illegitimate twisting of the rules by the ANC is certainly cause for serious concern. But I do not agree that this is cause for a panic, or Zimbabwe-style investment flight. I also do not agree that it is evidence of our inevitable slide towards a failed state.
Quite the contrary, I took heart in the events of November 13, because they are the most vivid demonstration we have yet had of the immense pressure the ANC and Jacob Zuma are currently under. The debate on the day also gave us an illuminating glimpse into the secret whisperings currently going around the ANC.
The message is clear: Jacob Zuma’s days are numbered, and indeed, the ANC’s days are numbered. The centre can no longer hold – it is coming apart faster than any of us could have predicted. And the faster the ANC is ejected from office, the better for the long-term future of South Africa.
Make no mistake, South Africa does risk descending into a failed state in the future if we do not arrest the steady decline we are currently experiencing under Jacob Zuma. If we do not insist on accountability, on the rule of law and on equality before the law, then we will not see the other side. If we do not pursue the corrupt, even up to the highest office; if we do not defend the Constitution and its institutions, then we will not build a successful society.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be relentless in defending the Constitution and ensuring that Parliament takes its rightful place in the functioning of our democratic Republic. We did this prior to the events of November 13 2014 and we’ll continue to do so for as long as it takes. I think this fact is slowly dawning on the ANC — we will not stop pursuing Jacob Zuma until he has his day in court for his role in an endless slew of scandals, from Schabir Shaik to Nkandla.
And the events in Parliament last week was an important line in the sand. The ANC now sees that it cannot just rewrite the rules as it sees fit to protect the President. It cannot abuse Parliament for its own political ends. The opposition, united on this score, will not let that stand.
We should worry about what happened on that day, more for what the ANC tried to get away with, but not for what the opposition did to stop it. Last week showed the depth of the crisis in the ANC, not a crisis in Parliament.
This is no cause for scaremongering.
Mr Heystek wrote of a “tin-pot dictator in the middle of an African jungle, where some buffoon has proclaimed himself Leader for Life”. We are far, far from this in South Africa, and the DA is daily ensuring we never go there. We are building a strong alternative government that can take on the ANC and win.
What happened in the National Assembly cannot be excused. Despite this, Parliamentary Leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament were able to sit around a table with the Deputy President and form a Parliamentary Leaders Committee to deal with the events of November 13 and find solutions that ensure that we never see these events repeated. The committee will be chaired by the Deputy President will be deputised by the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
There’s much to be proud of in South Africa, and I am proud to be a child of this nation, and I will work day and night to ensure that our Constitution is upheld and that Parliament functions to serves the people of this nation.
The scaremongering and advice “to repatriate as much of your personal assets out of the country as you can” is irresponsible and is without an understanding of what is happening in South Africa, and the processes afoot to ensure that we build a better South Africa.
Something broke on November 13 2014, but the DA is working long and hard to fix it; but in order to fix it, we need buy in from all South Africans.
Prophets of doom and gloom have been around since long before 1994, and time and time again they have been proven wrong. As the DA, we will ensure that they are again proven wrong.
Mmusi Maimane is the DA Parliamentary Leader