Editorials 11.8.2017 05:40 am

Criticism is not treason, ANC

An ANC supporter hold's the party's flag. File photo. 
Image: STRINGER Reuters

An ANC supporter hold's the party's flag. File photo. Image: STRINGER Reuters

Once we start labelling our critics ‘enemies of the state’, a repressive dictatorship is only a step away.

The ANC showed that it still has the instincts of a political street fighter when it moved to change the debate in parliament on Tuesday from President Jacob Zuma to regime change.

All the ANC MPs who spoke harped on about what they said was the real intention behind the motion: to unseat the ANC government.

None of those who spoke said anything in defence of Zuma. Then, the DA had to go and prove them right by deciding to move a resolution for the dissolution of parliament.

This is clearly an attempt to remove the ANC and it annoyed the DA’s erstwhile ally, the EFF’s Julius Malema, to such an extent that he said he would not be part of any attempt to subvert the will of the people as had been expressed through the ballot box in the 2014 elections.

It is, however, the right of the DA and anyone in opposition (including the EFF) to decide on the strategies and tactics to employ to challenge the ANC politically.

Malema himself has his own views on how to tackle the ruling party. Both organisations, and the opposition in total, make their views known in a completely constitutionally correct way.

So, it is worrying that the ANC, in moving the debate on the no-confidence motion away from Zuma, chose to conflate criticism of the president with an attack on the ANC; and even more worrying, implying that any attack on the ANC is tantamount to what a minister called a coup d’etat.

It cannot be emphasised too strongly that these Stalinist tendencies of the ANC – to equate criticism of it to treason – should be resisted energetically by all South Africans.

Once we start labelling our critics “enemies of the state” (as Stalin did), a repressive dictatorship is only a step away.

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