We’ve been here before. Not once or twice but plenty of times. The head of our constitutional democracy has let us down before and we have called for his head.
It is not a position that a democracy as young as ours should have to be constantly dealing with. I’ve lost count of the number of “no confidence” motions that have been proposed against President Jacob Zuma. Yet he remains in office, but we dare not give up. The DNA of this country carries the instruction that we always overcome insurmountable odds.
The problem with South African opposition politics has always been one of unity. The EFF agrees Zuma must go. The DA agrees he has overstayed his welcome. SaveSA says the same. Hell, even his own comrades have now come out and said this man is not fit enough to continue as our country’s leader.
Ahmed Kathrada went to his grave asking, begging him to do the right thing and step aside. Yet something keeps him there. It’s that something the people of this country need to get busy acquiring, the something that will shake the president and make him realise that our collective trust in him has hit rock bottom.
At the post-reshuffle press conference that Mcebisi Jonas and Pravin Gordhan addressed, they both indicated that if they were to vote in another motion of no confidence against the president they would go with their conscience.
While I appreciate this new turn of events, voting with their conscience, one needs to know and understand why it is that in previous motions against the president members of parliament did not go with their conscience.
The basic requirement right now for all politicians in the National Assembly should be when I vote, “what’s best for South Africa”?
But that’s easier said than done. The divisions within those lobbying for the restoration of the dignity associated with the office of the president run deep. Ideological differences count for more than what each party considers as best for South Africa.
Popular uprisings the world over have been successful only when all opposition work together. SaveSA alone can organise rallies but without the EFF and SACP saying we are with you, then those rallies will not be supported by what a lot of the media likes to refer to as “the ANC’s voting cannon fodder”.
Those are the men and women who Zuma knows don’t care much for Cabinet reshuffles and the rand/dollar exchange. Ironically, that is exactly the group of people that SaveSA and everyone else needs on the streets, marching together, alongside company CEOs and big business leaders to send a message that cannot be ignored by the president.
Because we’ve been here before, we should know that ordinary actions have no impact on the conscience of the president. Extraordinary measures are required to curb what are now dictatorial tendencies. It is one thing for a president to exercise his prerogative to choose his Cabinet, it is clearly unheard of for the top leadership of the party to say we don’t know who the president consulted to come up with the list.
That alone should be enough to galvanise all those who agree that he has now crossed a line that even he knew he shouldn’t have crossed. South Africa needs to go back to what brought us democracy: organised mass action to support those in parliament.