I really enjoyed the outburst in Parliament yesterday when Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota accused President Jacob Zuma of violating his oath of office.
I agree that the president had not upheld his Constitutional obligation to protect the rights of artist Brett Murray, or City Press editor Ferial Haffajee. When Zuma assumed the office he solemnly swore to “protect and promote the rights of all South Africans”, “do justice to all” and devote himself “to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people”.
But what really tickled my fancy was when Lekota referred to the tactics being used by various party leaders and Cabinet members who were now resorting to Nazi style measures and tactics to ‘ ‘threaten those who were exercising their rights to express themselves’. He went on to say that the tactics reminded him of the use of storm troopers by Hitler to crush all opposition.
When I sat back and thought about it, he made a lot of sense. Here we have the ANC protesting that the dignity of the president has been besmirched and that they needed to rise up (no pun intended) en mass, to show just how unhappy they are. The protesters didn’t just arrive at a gathering point; most of them were bussed in from various areas. Once again brand new T-shirts were dished out as well as neatly printed placards. Watching the leaders of the march and the unruly crowd following them had me having flashbacks to previous marches in support of something or someone that they felt hard done by. Julius Malema comes to mind.
If President Zuma was acting in the best interest of the country he would have repudiated Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who is also general secretary of the SA Communist Party, for “acting in direct contravention of the Constitution”. Will there be an investigation into this serious breach of the Constitution? I doubt it!
Of course President Zuma won’t even mention the hard handed tactics of one of his senior ministers, quoting Lekota again, “the fascist action”, of Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, “who literally frog marched Goodman Gallery owner Lisa Esser to make a public apology before the media”.
Hitler also used crowds of his followers to sweep up the masses to the point where they erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on hysteria. If you watched the crowds of ANC supporters marching on the Goodman Gallery you saw exactly the same as when the Nazi supporters marched to burn down Jewish shops.
Hiltler also chipped away at the constitution until he could finally discard it in its entirety. Lekota actually made a very good point when he said, and I quote from his speech, “The President has made clear that in the exercise of his cultural rights, he is not constrained by the Constitution. A parallel constitution, it would seem, has come into effect”.
Now if we suddenly have everybody claiming that their cultural rights are above the Constitution we end up with a very serious problem in our country. Who’s cultural rights would then supersede who’s? Will a Zulu’s rights be higher than a Xhosa or a Tswane or a Basotho…..
Obviously the cultural rights of Whites, Coloureds and Indians would be right at the bottom of the pile.