Former Cosatu leader slams Parliament as a “joke”


Independent and Democratic Trade Union Federation head, Zwelinzima Vavi, has described the ongoing disruptions in Parliament as having turned the institution into “a joke” and “a circus” with the scenes resembling “a rowdy beer hall” than a symbol of democracy.

Earlier this month, Parliament’s Protection Services were called in to remove members of the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) from the House, who had starting singing in protest against President Jacob Zuma answering members’ questions.

Unwilling to leave the Chamber, EFF MP’s then threw their hard hats and water bottles at security, with some also using their fists while being removed. EFF supporters seated in the gallery reportedly also got involved by damaging a glass door outside the old National Assembly chamber, and using a fire extinguisher.

“The People’s Assembly ought to set a shining example of tolerance of different views and intellectual debates, in particular in the context of our history. Every time our people watch Parliamentary debates they should through good example see democracy in action,” the former Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General-Secretary said in a statement.

“Regrettably however our parliament represents the opposite of what the true values of our people are.  It has become a circus and an absolute joke. At times it has resembled the most disorderly rowdy scenes of a beer hall”.

He said the country is facing a leadership crisis where “everything that should be seen as wrong has become normal”, with the main drivers being the 783 corruption charges against Zuma, and the March ruling by the Constitutional Court that the President failed to uphold the Constitution by ignoring the remedial actions of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings into the R246-million security upgrades at his Nkandla home.

“The ANC, a distinguished liberation movement which has produced the most outstanding leaders who are celebrated all over the world, today stands accused of being responsible for the unfolding crisis and moral decay,” Vavi said.

“It is our considered view that the failure by the National Assembly to take proactive action is the source of embarrassing scenes seen in our National Legislature. This is the source of the political crisis engulfing South Africa.

“The National Assembly and National Council of Provinces [must therefore] act with speed to restore the image of these important institutions of our democracy”.


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