The DA and its naked obsession to distract our democracy with frivolous motions continues. No sooner have they and the cohort of opposition parties lost for the eighth time a motion against the sitting President Jacob Zuma, now they are back telling us what they will now attempt. It is a party that is endowed with an overkill of apartheid-earned resources hence it can attempt to take us back to the dark days of apartheid and colonial rule.
It has now decided to table another motion, this time to have parliament dissolved. Please remember they are not the first, the politically hijacked SACC also considered it their inalienable right to demand the same. At what stage do we engage in the true work of Parliament as the legislative mandate? The tactics of the DA under Mmusi Maimane mirrors that of the EFF; the latter has in the aftermath of the failed motion told us they will now impeach the president. Gutter politics at play bereft of an appreciation of true politics therefore confusing the judiciary and political spheres.
Opposition parties in a democratic society are necessary and have a huge role to play. Their individual and collective relevance regardless to size is informed by the value they bring to the daily aspects of governance as a fundamental and practical reality. Opposition parties are important because they help with the equilibrium of political power and therefore can also articulate the voices of minorities, which in a democracy is celebrated. Opposition parties are essential because they need to keep the governing party in check, and show out the glaring challenges and inconsistencies between promises and failed promises.
Yet opposition parties are more essential because they like all must put the national interest at the centre of their policies, politics and the practical reality of every day life. Opposition parties are crucial for they must show they have a clearly articulated vision and plan for the broader society, should they be occasioned in trust of ballot to govern.
In South Africa, our opposition is poor, poor in their actual role of having an alternative. Opposition parties in South Africa are denying us the opportunity of proper choice because our opposition parties are obsessed with individuals and less with policy or programme. For the last eight years the sum total of the opposition politics has centred on removing President Jacob Zuma. They have abandoned all plausible efficacies of their own manifestos for their new primary objective. The problem with this mindset is that it fundamentally robs them from due engagement of the issues of governance and giving any credence to what they really stand for.
This happens when the opposition parties confuse opposition with being oppositional. The bankruptcy of the South African opposition parties is for all to see. They are (super) light and feather (thin) on a policy and alternate government as is expected of opposition parties in a democracy. The success of the ANC is confirmed in this that it has exposed the opposition parties as necessarily weak politically, ideologically inept and lacking in visionary pursuit.
The DA leader Mmusi Maimane as instructed when he came into serious politics has as fundamental aim of getting rid of President Zuma. It was not even his decision because we know how obsessed the former leader of the DA Helen Zille was to have the President removed. When you think it started there please do not forget its preceding leader Tony Leon was the first to be this oppositional. Leon the son of a judge that sent our cadres to the gallows led a Democratic Party that only knew how to be oppositional. It is therefore in the DNA of the Democratic Alliance to confuse its role of opposition. When Maimane hogs media attention with court case threats and frivolous motions it’s the continuation of the agenda of Zille and later Lindiwe Mazibuko.
It remains an oppositional party that has no regard for democracy. It in hypocrisy pretends to be the custodian of democracy yet it’s the antithesis of true democracy. It’s understanding of democracy is opaque, reckless, amateurish and deeply conflated. Its anti-majoritarian stance against the ANC when it seeks to be a majority is not just ambivalent but glaringly rhetorical.
This party does not share or practice democracy in its own ranks in appointing of leaders. It appears the only thing democratic about the DA is what reflects in a name. May we remind them it takes more than calling yourself democratic to live out the creeds and values of democracy.
It’s safe to conclude that the DA with its black face but white control reality has scant regard for the masses that have entrusted the ANC to lead, it considers the masses uninformed ignorant and misled. The masses voted and trusted the ANC to lead, the masses gave the ANC a mandate, the same it did not do with the DA and these one-man band opposition parties that exists for the pension of eternal leaderships.
How we as South Africans afford a party that was not trusted to lead such latitude baffles my mind. How we as nation can be this tolerant of those who derail our democracy and hard work at making South Africa a different place defies logic.
Another error opposition parties make is to mislead them to be in the contest of running to unseat the ANC. Each of the opposition parties no different to the EFF remains heavily intoxicated with the false idea they can rule SA. Opposition parties have not been realistic neither honest to accept they are not campaigning against the ANC but against those who have been playing in the sphere of influence they operate and remain constrained.
This utopia of thought and dream is paraded and fundamentally the cornerstone of all opposition lifeblood. Opposition parties have spent unnecessary resources time and energy on the wrong focus.
They equally have erroneously convinced themselves that they can mislead the masses that they can unseat the ANC, unfortunately the voters do not agree with them and shows them exactly the opposite.
Opposition parties will help themselves the day they learn to respect the SA voters, as conscious in their choice for whom they entrusts to lead. As a party it is out of kilt with the praxis of democracies and its parties. Perhaps the biggest error that opposition parties consistently make in SA is premised or informed by a view that people that vote for the ANC do so without thinking, and thus not conscious to choose clearly. This error has a precarious double-edged internal stream; on the one hand it fundamentally argues the majority of voters are illiterate. On the other hand it assumes the votes can be swayed on emotions because they believe the voters vote the ANC in power informed by pure emotion and no effective and causal reasoning.
Anyone who attempts to assume the SA voting constituency makes light of the right so many fought and died for is not in step with SA as an evolving constitutional democracy. Our people know what the democratic franchise in right to vote means, they respect their right to vote, and they will not entertain anyone who refuses to think along the same lines they do. Our voters are very analytical and seldom vote in emotional blackmail.
It remains hell-bent on ruling this country through the means of court rulings. The DA really wants to rule with no mandate. It embodies the utter arrogance of a claimed liberal agenda but really a conservative project to protect white interest. The party renders itself neither tenable nor reflective of the non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society we seek to build.
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
On behalf of MK Inkululeko Foundation.