In light of Fikile Mbalula’s description of ANC MPs as “suicide bombers” whose allegiance to the party are absolute, we should ask whether the parliamentary oath is conditional.
We already know there’ll never be a secret ballot: that could have been predicted from after the 2014 elections. Who are our parliamentarians when there isn’t one, and what did their oath mean back then? When their lives or jobs are at stake, what legroom do they have to act contrary to the good of the Republic? Now, were office-bearers like Thuli Mandosela and MPs like Vytjie Mentor and Dr. Makhosi Khoza aware of this latitude?
When I was in the military, I realized that if those who’d served under compulsion had nonetheless served well, then those of us who had joined voluntarily had to exceed them. If we said before danger, “This is not what I signed up for!” we were wasting opportunities to serve the country that others may have used more courageously.
The price of sovereignty is the same as ending oppression or taking away sins: blood. MPs elect the president who decides when soldiers go off to risk their lives for the country. How are the ANC’s MPs not open to facing the same risk to bring that leader to book or atone for his sins, which they covered? Do they think whoever conceived of the no confidence provision failed to envision the scenarios under which it could be invoked? Did they take their oath to the country that lightly? What did they think the “so help me God” part was for? Dramatic effect?
There is no shame in ceding one’s seat or position to someone more patriotic and less conflicted about what needs to be done. Not doing so shifts the price to South Africans. As the Guptas stole state resources, so, too, are pro-Zuma ANC MPs stealing a chance to serve from those who’d act on conscience.
We rightly say, “Nonconformist ANC deployees are being murdered”. It would be more accurate to say, “A free South Africa is being murdered, and dissenting ANC members are on the front line because they took their vows seriously”. When power has been corrupted, it is unpatriotic to limit dissent to systems that have been captured and corrupted.
South Africa is in reverse-struggle. If you could quantify the collective suffering facilitated by the ANC-led government (from AIDS denialism to State Capture denialism) it could surpass the suffering endured by members of the liberation movement under apartheid. This trend will be perpetuated by ANC’s necromancy this coming 8th: by its MPs’ witchcraft, the high price paid by their martyrs and prisoners will be exacted from the future generations those stalwarts were dying to serve. I don’t know whether hell is real, but I know there’s a special place in it for people who do that — people who intercept someone’s dying gift to an unborn child, and use it to kill that child as they enrich themselves. Worse, the ANC will blame that child: when Fezeka Kuzwayo reported that Jacob Zuma had raped her, it was spun into the Mbeki faction planting discord for the Zuma faction. When Makhosi Khoza speaks up, it’s spun as her getting attention at a cost to the party. Some reportedly suggested an amnesty deal be given to Zuma to keep the ANC intact. Message? ANC elites are the only people intended in the Constitution’s, “We, the people” and the rest of us are their shadows — hollow, empty and destined for the underworld.
Some ANC office-bearers and MPs justify their loyalty by saying they’re “fighting from within”. Others say they’re using “prescribed channels”, “following protocols” (I wondered whether Zuma “followed protocol” when he forwarded ministerial candidates’ CVs to the Guptas) and “ensuring some service delivery happens”. But postponing criticism for a more opportune moment is as exhausted as all the excuses for it. “Doing good from within” simply lends evil a veneer of benevolence that will benefit no one when the bill arrives.
It’s common knowledge the Speaker will have an open ballot, so MPs should state what their consciences say publicly because the Constitutional Court understands their vows to take precedence over their party allegiance and even normal process. This moral burden is underscored by the ANC’s Policy Conference Discussion Document labelled Strategy and Tactics:
“South Africa’s efforts at fundamental change represent a social experiment which resonates with humanity’s progressive endeavours. As in the past when it touched the conscience of humanity, South Africa is a giant social laboratory, the success or failure of whose undertakings has global implications.”
ANC MPs vowed to do something much bigger than themselves — and if they don’t live up to their implications no matter the cost, their oaths will haunt them to their deathbeds anyway. Remember these words by C. S Lewis:
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”
The ANC has already said its MPs are suicide bombers. Doesn’t their oath to the constitution and parliament have a stronger claim to unconditionality?
Siya Khumalo writes on religion, politics and sex.
Comment, follow and retweet on @SKhumalo1987
Book loading (yes it is so real) for next year April.