The move by opposition parties to dissolve Parliament is “ridiculous, impulsive and reckless” said the Jesuit Institute South Africa, which has urged opposition to rethink and desist from their attempt to force early elections in reaction to the outcome of the no-confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma. In the unlikely event of this intended motion succeeding, the country could potentially dissolve into an even deeper political and economic crisis, the statement said.
The Institute commended the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete, for her decision to allow a secret ballot in Parliament, and all Members of Parliament for their participation and conduct in what was essentially democracy in action. However, the Institute also condemned any attempt at reprisal or the labelling of those suspected of voting for the motion. Any such attempts undermine democracy and the primacy of conscience. “We appeal to all: please uphold and respect the primacy of conscience.”
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ, the Institute’s director said that while the Institute was very concerned about the state of the country, it do not support the motion to dissolve Parliament. “South Africa is embattled socio-politically and economically because of its current poor leadership, corruption is rife and state capture must be confronted. None of this can be denied. However, the opposition cannot negate the fact that the African National Congress (ANC) was elected and given a mandate in 2014 to govern by the people of the country. The opposition cannot refute the will of the people.” He called the attempt “undemocratic and unacceptable”. The Institute has urged all parties to accept the results of the no-confidence vote and to respect the 2014 democratic elections.
Fr Pollitt said pursuing motions was futile and a play at shadow politics. He urged opposition parties to focus on holding the executive to account.
“Get your own house in order and ensure that the metros you govern are functioning as they should be,” he said in the statement directed at opposition, adding that a great deal of resource and energy is being squandered by playing games, seeking publicity and grandstanding in Parliament. This energy should be used to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans who gave the mandate to opposition to lead some metros in 2016.
The Institute has called on the parties to work to uplift communities, fight inequality and poverty, maintain and develop infrastructure and restore values through good governance and to be transparent. SA
“Work to entrench democracy rather than undermine it. There is enough work to do in the metros where you have political power. Your obsession with President Jacob Zuma is unhelpful and unhealthy.”