Debate by: Hon. Princess PATN Buthelezi
IFP Member of Provincial Legislature
Thursday, 01 November 2018
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Pietermaritzburg
Violent protests have become a culture that has become embedded in the South African society.
Yes, those who engage in protests may have genuine reasons for such actions. They may feel that that the delivery of services is moving at a slow pace. However, the culture of property destruction and looting during service delivery protests cannot be supported by patriotic people.
The IFP says to our people, governments and leaders may fail you, or circumstances may make it difficult for governments to fulfil your aspirations. However, leaders will change and governments will come and go, but South Africa as a country will remain our mother whom we must treat with respect and dignity.
The infrastructure that is destroyed during protests has been built through the sweats of ordinary South Africans who pay heavy taxes. Once it has been built, that infrastructure is the property and heritage of South Africans. It therefore belongs to our mother South Africa. Above that, this infrastructure must be left for future generations.
When you destroy this infrastructure, when you violate the rights of other South Africans to move freely in their country, when you harass and intimidate other South Africans, you are assaulting South Africa and all that she values. Such actions demonstrate the worst forms of unpatriotic attitudes and are a betrayal of future generations.
This is more so because South Africa has the Constitution and democratic institutions whose responsibilities are to defend the poor and the downtrodden. Above that, every South African citizen has the right to put governments in power and remove them and to put leaders in office and remove them through the vote. Why then must we resort to anarchy and violence instead of employing constitutional and democratic means to achieve our objectives?
Hon. Speaker, the IFP says this knowing very well that multitudes of our people have to deal with very serious challenges. We say this knowing that our people see some among those in leadership positions treating people’s taxes as their own riches. Indeed, as leaders, we have created impressions that we have lost touch with those whom we are in leadership to serve. We have shown much preoccupations with our internal party-political matters and personal welfare to the detriment of the masses of our people.
Indeed, as leaders, we must conduct some serious self-assessment with regards to the manner we have conducted ourselves. Having done that, we must humbly ourselves before our people and recommit ourselves to notion of servant-leadership.
The IFP recognises that most concerns of our people are legitimate. We also recognise the constitutional right of every person to express their feelings, views and displeasure. However, the IFP has always argued that these constitutional rights do not extend to the burning of properties and infrastructure and engaging in acts of violence.
Therefore, the IFP urges government to be tough on those who promote anarchy. The full might of the law must be brought to bear upon them. By this however, we do not mean unleashing brutality upon the defenceless people. But anarchy must not be allowed to be entrenched.
Further, the IFP proposes that both provincial and local spheres of government should work on strengthening constant communication with our people to avoid unnecessary protests.
The IFP further recommends that government officials must equip themselves with resources such as improved accountability processes, active tactical interventions, strategic deployments, enhanced public participation protocols and tools for meaningful engagement and better policy enforcement capabilities. They should proactively identify issues that give rise to community protest action and use municipal leadership structures to communicate actions being taken.
Allowing public to participate in all municipal budget processes could contribute to cleaning out corruption and pre-meting protests by communities. This should be done by all municipalities regardless of political party leadership, sector of the economy and municipality location.
Leaders must desist from promising our people that paradise is coming tomorrow when they know that such promises are pipedreams.
I thank you.