READER LETTER | Sick of hecklers and howlers

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Your editorial "Antics at Sona Debate a New Low for SA" (DD Feb 20) refers. Some of our public representatives seem to think their role is exclusively to howl, heckle and disrupt.

There is nothing in the constitution that makes any provision for heckling and howling in parliament, and this despicable behavior, which adds no value to the lives of our people, is often motivated by the presence of live television cameras.

Those who behave as though they are paid to heckle, howl, disrupt and destroy property, whether it be council meetings, provincial legislatures or parliamentary sessions, seem to forget their monthly salaries and benefits are paid by South Africans.

For some of our public representatives, the state of the nation address (Sona) provides them with excellent opportunity to trend on social media. We should not expect miracles from any of the political parties in parliament, until our flawed electoral system is changed.

This is not rocket science  – all councillors, MPLs and MPs are nominated by their parties, because we do not have a constituency-based electoral system that gives citizens the right to choose public representatives they trust outside of established political party structures, except for independent councillors at municipal level.

The heckling and disruptions – by both governing party and opposition party representatives – is quite sickening considering how many issues facing us as a nation require our collective wisdom and sober-minded leadership beyond narrow political party circles. We must be insane to think it will assist us in ending joblessness, violent crime, inequalities, corruption, landlessness, poverty and poor service delivery. They do these things because there are no consequences for their dastardly actions. It just shows the contempt they have for ratepayers and taxpayers.

These ugly scenes are a reflection of the infantile leadership endorsed by some of our voters. If there is anyone out there who thinks that howling and heckling is a sign of being revolutionary, radical and vibrant, please think again. Worse, SRC leaders in some universities replicate their mentors's behaviour in parliament. 

Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko once said: "If we have mere change of face of those in governing position what is likely to happen is that black people will continue to be poor, and you will see a few blacks filtering through into the so-called bourgeoisie. Our society will be run almost as of yesterday.”

This is so true. The fact that we have more black faces representing the ANC, DA, EFF and other political parties at all levels of government has not changed the lives of most of SA's people.

The constitution empowers parliament to be the sole legislative authority in South Africa and to play a critical oversight role to ensure accountability at various levels of government; it must always act in the people’s best interests.

However, with the hecklers and howlers, why do we act surprised when those in public service and in state-owned enterprises mimic their leaders in parliament with their bad behavior and attitude towards the public instead of focusing on the bigger picture – provision of decent services to all our people?

-Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi, Azapo national committee on publicity and information, Tshwane, Gauteng


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