Stop corruption, chaos and honour Mandela's legacy

Unless we put an end to chaotic scenes in parliament, perpetual racist tweets and corruption in all three spheres of the government, we risk prospects of being a paragon of Nelson Mandela's legacy, the writer says.
Unless we put an end to chaotic scenes in parliament, perpetual racist tweets and corruption in all three spheres of the government, we risk prospects of being a paragon of Nelson Mandela's legacy, the writer says.
Image: Getty Images

It was at a huge cost for Nelson Mandela and other leaders of his generation to rise and challenge a callous, but formidable state such as apartheid SA.

Through his selfless effort, he managed to build a democratic, nonracial and free SA.

As we celebrate Mandela month, it is prudent to have a cursory glance at the life and times of this iconic statesman.

When the ANC came to power in 1994, and during the period of Mandela's presidency, it occupied the high moral ground. Unfortunately this cannot be said of the present leadership, and this constitutes a tragedy.

Most of South Africans have been appalled by the conduct and behaviour of MPs during the State of the Nation Address.

Parliament degenerated into a circus with speakers trading insults and the presiding officers appearing inept in an attempt to control unruly members and giving irrational ruling which exacerbate the pandemonium.

Mandela's presidency, although it was short, was indeed a golden age. He bequeathed to us an inestimable legacy of moral integrity and selfless service.

The pandemonium that prevailed for the past years indicates that something seriously is amiss in our body politic. It is totally unacceptable that reasoned debate should be replaced by irrational mud-slinging and trading insult in a venerable institution that is the highest debating forum in the land.

The optimal working of a parliament requires co-operation between the government and opposition parties. The ANC must therefore take the lead to bring this about. When the EFF brings parliament to its knees, it is essentially casting a spotlight on the farce that it has all been turned into by the ANC.

There is much objectionable about the tactics of the EFF, but theirs is a reaction to fundamental defective institutional make-up of democracy.

Crucially, the EFF has to exert itself intellectually on what precisely it stands for beyond fighting old factional battles with the ANC and turning parliament into a chaotic scene. This behaviour is further from the legacy of Mandela.

The DA, as the official opposition party, has a very responsible role to play in the debacle in parliament.

However, it doesn't have the habit of thinking through and talking about racism during federal caucus.

Helen Zille's consistent apartheid tweets are some of the examples the DA does not know how to deal with speech acts that are racist. All racist speech acts are poisonous regardless of the intention of the speaker or writers of those words.

The DA must discipline her and use the hardest sanction if she is found guilty. The truth is that it will never happen.

If a political party fails in this regard, parliament must formulate new legislations that must regulate the conduct of political office bearers in all spheres of the government.

In light of governance, the local government is in shambles. The sight of corruption in municipalities will turn Mandela in his grave.

Let's just take the past three years of decline. For the 2015/16 financial year, 18% of the 257 got clean audits. In 2017/18 that was down to 14% and it is now 8%. Irregular spending was R16,6bn. The following year was R24,4bn and now is R32bn.

In 2015/16, 27% of the municipalities were found to be financially unsustainable. By the end of 2017/18, 33% were technically bankrupt; 76% needed "urgent intervention".

Many people feel betrayed by the corrosion of the system, but because of the role Mandela played to liberate this country, they vote for the ANC.

Unless we put an end to chaotic scenes in parliament, perpetual racist tweets and corruption in all three spheres of the government, we risk prospects of being a paragon of Mandela's legacy.

*Ntlhane is a Sowetan reader.

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