11 August 2017

DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT AND EARLY ELECTIONS

 The Jesuit Institute South Africa urges opposition parties to rethink and to desist from attempting a motion to dissolve Parliament and force early elections in reaction to the outcome of the no-confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma. This is a ridiculous, impulsive and reckless move. In the unlikely event of this intended motion succeeding, the country could potentially dissolve into an even deeper political and economic crisis.

We commend the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete, for her decision to allow a secret ballot in Parliament. We commend all Members of Parliament for their participation and conduct in what was essentially democracy in action. We condemn 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.

While the Jesuit Institute is very concerned about the state of the country, we 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. This is ultimately undemocratic and unacceptable. Accept the results of the no-confidence vote of the 8 August 2017. Respect the 2014 democratic elections. Listen to fellow colleagues in the opposition benches.

Instead of pursuing endless futile motions and playing at shallow politics, we urge opposition parties to focus on holding the executive to account. Get your own house in order, ensure that the metros you govern are functioning as they should be. A great deal of resource and energy is being squandered by playing games, seeking publicity and grandstanding in Parliament. Enough now. This energy should be used to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans who gave you the mandate to lead some metros in 2016.

Work to uplift communities, fight inequality and poverty, maintain and develop infrastructure and restore values through good governance. Be transparent. 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.

ENDS
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For more information contact:

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ, Director. Tel +27 82 737 2054 or email r.pollitt@jesuitinstitute.org.za

Fr Anthony Egan, SJ, Ethicist. Tel +27 72 938 4553 or email a.egan@jesuitinstitute.org.za