ANC Caucus 2015 End of the year Statement
06 December 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
The African National Congress in Parliament officially concludes the 2015 parliamentary programme pleased with its performance and its significant contribution towards the work of Parliament and its capability to fulfill its constitutional obligations. This year's session, although often soiled by flagrant mischief and other persistent corrosive conduct, has generally been characterised by robust multiparty debates and lively inter-party political engagements. As the Majority Party, we have endeavoured successfully to ensure the continued functionality and effectiveness of the national legislature, despite determined efforts to erode its decorum and collapse it.
As part of our oversight work, in all committees, plenary sittings and constituency work, we have remained unyielding in our on-going advancement of the goals of the Freedom Charter, which is expressed in the NDP, as our guiding programme for the radical economic transformation to eradicate unemployment, inequality and poverty.
2. Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Work & Oversight:
Parliament is a critical national forum for public debate of important issues, for passing laws that must transform the quality of lives of our people and to oversee the work of the executive to ensure quality and efficient delivery of services to all South Africans.
We have sought to enhance the quality of parliamentary discourse by ensuring that parliamentary rules are strengthened and that parliament as a supreme representative of the people is respected. The enhancement of the rules has assisted in restoring the decorum of the institution, thereby creating and encouraging environment in which superiority of the arguments, rather than gimmickry and mischief, hold sway. It is important that all of us play by the rules in the interest of promoting a culture of robust debates, the spirit of frank multiparty engagement and sustenance of a fair and equitable space for parties to advance the interests and aspirations of their constituencies. A climate of disregard and disrespect for the rules is usually the refuge of those without ideas and thus employ chaos and anarchy as a means to advance their narrow interests.
We are therefore pleased that the majority of parties in this institution cooperated in ensuring that order is restored and Parliament effectively discharges its constitutional functions to better the lives of the people.
We are pleased with the progress pertaining to the process of overhauling of parliamentary rules with a view to bring them into line with our evolving and maturing constitutional democratic order. We anticipate that the new rules of Parliament, the first time such an overhaul has been conducted since 1994, would come into force early next year.
To further reinforce the culture of debate on important national issues, which is the lifeblood of any democratic parliament, we championed the system that ensured that there is an equitable allocation of opportunities for all parties, regardless of their size, to sponsor motions for debate. Previously, only bigger parties were accorded such an opportunity. This is illustrative of the Majority Party that encourages democratic debates and, through its superior arguments, is always equal to the task to liven and enhance parliamentary discourse.
Legislative works is the key pillar of the programme of Parliament. Since the advent of our constitutional democracy, Parliament has passed over 1300 transformative pieces of legislation to strengthen democracy and to continually change the material conditions of our people. This year, Parliament considered a total of 43 Bills, out of which it passedBills passed include the Protection of Investment Bill, aimed at protecting and promoting local and foreign investments to create a predictable and stable investment environment to boost our economic growth; the Sexual Offenses Act, aimed at resolving the legal implications relating to sex between consenting adolescents while discouraging teenage sex; and the Maintenance Act, aimed at improving the child maintenance system and improve coercive measure against irresponsible parents who refuse to take care of their children. Refusal by some parents to provide financially for their children is another form of abuse against children and women, and thus society must show intolerance against such scoundrels.
Also before Parliament is the Higher Education Amendment Bill, a critical draft piece of legislation which is intended to accelerate transformation at institutions of higher learning. This year has seen the escalation of protests at various institutions, particularly former white only universities, fighting lack of transformation and discriminatory practices. The Bill is key in ensuring that a balance is drawn between preserving institutions' autonomy and accelerating transformation to ensure these institutions reflect our democratic order.
We have intensified our efforts to hold the executive accountable through various parliamentary mechanisms, including within committees, which are the engines of parliament; and oversight tools such as oral and written questions, motions, member statements and notices of motions. We have continued to surpass any party regarding the advancement of oversight mechanisms such as Members Statements (145), Motions Without Notice (71) and Motions For Debate (98).
3. Holding other parties accountable:
Similarly, we have strived to ensure that we also keep other parties accountable for their conduct. All of us are accountable and ought to uphold the highest standards of moral and ethical behaviour. It is for this reason that we filed complaints with the parliamentary ethics committee that appropriate sanctions be imposed against DA MPs for their disgraceful conduct. The MPs include DA leader Mmusi Maimane for his crooked falsification of asset declarations and Archibald Figlan for sexual misconduct.
It is disgraceful and outrageous that despite the DA claiming it has expelled Dianne Kohler-Barnard for racism following internal process, she continues to serve in the National Assembly. This does not surprise us as the party's posture from time to time affirm its endorsement of Kohler-Barnards' racist political beliefs. We give the DA until February 2016 to take action against this unrepentant racist and remove her from our democratic parliament, which is built on the values of non-racialism and democracy, or we will submit our complaint to the ethics committee. Her conduct directly violates Section 4 of the ethics code, which states that "in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, (MPs must) be committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination." The DA can retain her as a party member - and indeed she would be at home amongst fellow racists in that party - but we cannot afford to have this parliament infested with public representatives who still harbor disturbing and dangerous attitudes that are reflective of our repulsive past.
4. Standard of the Opposition:
The quality of the opposition in this Parliament, particularly the official opposition, is an on-going concern for us. The tactically flawed tendency of the DA to stage walkouts during the processing of Bills it disagrees with in order to manipulate the quorum of the House is myopic, petty, politically bankrupt and an antithesis to the climate of multiparty democracy as enshrined in our democratic Constitution. Our parliamentary multiparty system enjoins all political parties to participate meaningfully and actively in the decision-making processes of Parliament, including in debates and voting on Bills before tHouse. It is inevitable that the opposition would differ with the Majority Party, however, that ought to be expressed through the formal process of Parliament than walking away.
Parties that object to matters before the House are required by the Constitution and the rules to do so by formally registering their objection through a vote, which then get captured in the Hansard for historical records. The DA's tactics of walkouts is tantamount to dereliction of duty, it lets down the people who voted them into Parliament and it is disruptive to the order of Parliament. Voters elect these MPs to participate in the work of Parliament, not to cowardly walk out just because they disagree. No self-respecting opposition anywhere in the world engages in such antics.
As the ANC, we could easily use our majority to form a quorum and unilaterally pass decisions. But that would not be in keeping with the spirit of multiparty democracy, which requires participation of all parties representing diverse aspirations of our population. It is ironic that the same party that usually accuse the ANC of abusing is majority to push through decision in the House would, when it suits it, wants the ANC to unilaterally adopt decisions in the House. The public is used to such a politically corrupt party that always speaks with forked tongues on matters of principle.
5. Genetically Modified Revolutionaries & the Madiba Legacy:
There is none in society, including its own membership, who can claim to remember anything of substance the EFF achieved in Parliament, other than the vicious efforts to erode and trash important symbols of our democracy - including Parliament as a symbol of democratic order and, recently, Nelson Mandela as a symbol of freedom and reconciliation. The recent vilification of Madiba's memory, who together with other revolutionaries made immense sacrifices, were subjected to untold suffering & personal hardship for our liberation, illustrates an unprecedented level of political infantilism and ignorance which is naturally symptomatic of poverty of ideas.
The attack smacks of the tendencies of those peacetime bogus revolutionaries who always seek to trash and kill the heroic legacies of revolutionary forebears in order to portray themselves as true martyrs and revolutionaries of the day. It can only be a psychotic manifestation of the delusions of grandeur that drives one to think they can displace the iconic Madiba through a vitriolic public campaign in order to take his place as a present-day hero. Madiba's revolutionary legacy, a product of over six decades of uninterrupted selfless service to humanity, can never be erased by genetically modified revolutionaries who, because of Madiba's sacrifices and struggles, today find it fashionable to be 'revolutionaries' because there is no fear of harassment, torture, detention without trial or death.
Malema's attack is the culmination of a futile desperate campaign that initially sought to divorce Madiba from the ANC, spuriously claiming it has deviated from his values. When the trickery fell flat, the target shifted to Madiba himself - in an attempt to discredit him and erase his legacy and that of the ANC. Madiba spoke of such charlatans when he said "a blind pursuit of cheap popularity has nothing to do with revolution."
That no South African has really taken seriously such unadulterated hogwash and contemptible nonsense dressed as robust political discourse is reflective of the low standards society has set for these genetically modified revolutionaries and how little it generally regards them. Our reflection on this issues, which coincides with the anniversary of Madiba's passing, is not intended to defend him. Indeed Madiba's legacy does not need to be defended, it speaks for itself. His ideals and values live in all of us who continue to cherish and to be guided by his revolutionary teachings and leadership.
One of our MPs, Mandla Mandela, was thus correct to refuse to wrestle with a pig in the mud by acceding to Malema's invitation for a debate on Madiba's legacy. If Malema and EFF genuinely needs political education on Mandela's revolutionary struggle life, they needs to look no further than their deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, who only three years ago dismissed those who claim Madiba has sold out as suffering from "intellectual laziness" and are ignorant of "the complexities of managing a political translation" in his PoliticsWeb article, "Mandela did not sell out". Let charlatans wrestle amongst each other regarding their lies, deceit and political schizophrenia.
In conclusion, the Office of the ANC Chief Whip wishes all MPs South Africans a restful, joyous festive season and prosperous new year.
ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ANC CHIEF WHIP
Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6920