Mmusi Maimane, the Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) is unhappy with South Africa’s Parliament.
He asserted that Parliament is failing miserably and with devastating consequences for the country.
Pointing out that the Constitution gives Parliament the duty and power to hold public servants accountable, ensure they act in the national interest and to bring them in line – or fire them – when they do not, the DA leader wailed that Parliament has become government’s toothless lapdog.
“Parliament should be the country’s sharp-fanged watchdog. Instead, it is the government’s toothless lapdog. Rather than scrutinize government decisions and demand accountability, it acts as defender, protector and even cheerleader for government,” he said.
Maimane’s outrage was inspired by last week’s Parliament Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma debate. Asserting that SA government has become a criminal syndicate headed up by a mafia boss, he upheld that the country is on hold and will not make progress until Zuma is removed.
“The vast majority of Members of Parliament know without doubt that he is a huge liability to South Africa. And yet a majority – 214 out of 400 MPs – voted to retain Zuma as president,” said Maimane.
Mr. Maimane further identified that “the problem is that we have a situation where the members of the majority party in Parliament, the ANC, are caught in a deeply entrenched patronage system, which fatally compromises their ability to act with independence against the government.
“…This is aggravated by our proportional representation electoral system which gives the party full power to appoint and remove individual members of Parliament. Any MPs who step out of line will not only lose their jobs, but risk prosecution for their part in the corruption.”
With the foregoing, he advocate that reforming the country’s electoral system to one in which at least half of all MPs are elected directly by voters, would help make Parliament more responsive to public interests.