Tag Archives: parliament

Parliament @20: Shrinking the accountability deficit

This year South Africans celebrate the 20-year anniversary of our democratic parliament. With national and provincial elections approaching, political parties are finalising the lists of candidates selected to represent South Africans. It is an opportune moment to reflect on the efficacy of public representation and how civil society can assist in enhancing it. Much has…

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Nine New Year’s resolutions for Parliament

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions as a sign of a fresh start or courage to reach a specific goal. This year I decided to write a few for Parliament. 1 Forgotten (or to-be-forgotten) reports Our legislature has become very comfortable with writing comprehensive reports but does not implement them. Dusty reports include the…

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Forget Mangaung. Budget politics is where it’s at

Xolela Mangcu in his latest book Biko – A Biography writes about a “big-chief syndrome” that exists among the current ruling elite, in which followers are placed at the mercy of the “chief”. South Africans arguably suffer as much as politicians from big-chief syndrome, in that we imbue leaders with inordinate power. This has to…

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Marikana, the sign of a schizophrenic state

As assault charges are laid against the police in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre, the outrageous reality is that torture is still not criminalised in South Africa. A draft law called the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Bill is before parliament but far from adoption. The relevant parliamentary committee has postponed the…

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A parliament that doesn’t respect itself

Dr Mathole Motshekga, ANC chief whip, at the end of June wrote in ANC Today that, “parliament survives on the confidence and respect the public have in it, without (which) its dignity and integrity is eroded”. The context was Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota sticking to his guns that President Jacob Zuma had violated his oath…

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Suspicion-mongering to discredit critical civil society

Cynicism permeated the atmosphere at Parliament’s latest round of public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB), ringing alarm bells about increasing hostility emanating from parliamentarians towards civil society. While the interaction should be rigorous, as different views are tested, the mere hosting of public hearings should not in itself be contentious in…

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The politics of confusion

It seems politics has become nothing but a crusade in confusion, confusing the very same people who voted politicians into office. Politicians get caught up in the fruitless and wasteful game of politicking while bravely maintaining the lie that they are working for our interests. I must start by saying we need to understand that…

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Why Black Tuesday was more important than world peace

On Tuesday November 22 people all over South Africa wore black clothes to mark their displeasure at the Protection of Information Bill that was due to be voted on in the National Assembly. The so-called Black Tuesday initiative seems to have been the brainchild of Yusuf Abramjee and Primedia. It was supported by a large…

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The utter stupidity of ANC lawmakers

It is almost unbelievable that the political party which, 20 years ago, was still an organisation engaged in a “liberation struggle”, could suffer from amnesia to the extent that it has voted for the passing of the Protection of Information BIll (better known as the “secrecy bill”) in Parliament. Unbelievable, because during the struggle against…

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