Monday, April 14, 2008

Arrogance, Incompetance, Callousness, Greed, Denial

This is a reply given by the opposition in the South African National assembly to the State of the Nation speech .

Our venal and corrupt politicians should take note.

by Ryan Coetzee

Madam Speaker,

The ANC has never been more dismal in a state of the nation debate.

The implication is that deep down, the ANC knows the truth: that our ship of state is not on course. It is off course, and in perilous waters, and in danger of running aground. But the ANC lacks the moral courage to accept reality and take responsibility.

So instead its speakers stand up here and dissemble and deny and dismiss criticism with self-righteous contempt.

But let’s look reality in the eye for a moment:

•The reality is that the ANC’s attachment to what it calls the National Democratic Revolution, and in particular its policy of deploying loyal cadres to institutions that are meant to be independent of the ruling party, is a direct assault on the constitution. The NDR is an anti-constitutional power-grab, Honourable Cronin. End it now.

•The reality is that the power outages across South Africa are caused by a dismal failure of leadership, vision and planning in the face of clear warnings – they are not an act of God or the consequence of economic success, and they most emphatically are not a mere “engineering solution to an engineering problem”.

•The reality is that corruption has become part of our national culture as a direct consequence of the ANC elite’s lust for money. The arms deal – and the cover up of its corruption – is a festering sore on the visage of the ANC and a blight on the reputation of our country.

•The reality is that we are failing in the fight against crime, because the Minister responsible is complacent; because our security agencies are at war with each other; because the country’s top cop is in league with a drug lord.

•The reality is that our education system is failing; our response to AIDS is too-little and too-late; our labour market regime is job-denying; our public service is incapacitated; and our foreign policy too often an embarrassment.

And so the ANC today is characterized by:


That’s the moral high ground for you, Honourable Minister of Safety and Security! I trust you’re enjoying the view.

And who is to blame for this reality? Is Apartheid to blame? Is the opposition to blame? The media? Big business?

I put it to you Madam Speaker that the ANC is to blame; that responsible ministers are to blame; that the President is to blame.

You see, the flip side of winning power is that you have to take responsibility for what you do with it.

It’s just not credible, Honourable Professor Asmal, to employ the tired trick of measuring the present against the Apartheid past and then drawing the false conclusion that the ANC in power has achieved what it should have?

The trouble with the ANC is that it labours under a delusion: the idea that it governs by a kind of divine right, as if it is a matter of destiny that the ANC should represent the majority of South Africans. Hence Mr. Zuma’s fatuous boast that the ANC will rule until Jesus comes.

Who needs accountability when you’re going to win anyway, right? Who needs to listen to alternative views? Who needs to be mindful of criticism?

And so we arrive at the arrogance of power. But the ANC will pay a price for its arrogance. I am here to tell you that one day the ANC will wake up to find that the voters have moved on. The leadership will find itself stranded with its BMWs, bodyguards and Johnny Walker Blues, the detritus of a forgotten liberation movement; a vanguard party no more.

It may not happen tomorrow, or next year, or the year after. But happen it will. Because the greatest enemy of corrupt, incompetent, arrogant governing parties, is time. From the moment they are elected, the clock starts ticking. The moral capital with which they began is progressively squandered. Slowly, the patience of the people trickles away. And then the unthinkable happens, and the powerful come crashing down.

It’s a great irony that a party with so much belief in the primacy of History (with a capital H) should have so little sense of it.

Madam Speaker, the President is fond of poetry. Perhaps it is time his party contemplated the words of Shelley’s Ozymandius:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Speech delivered in the National Assembly during the State of the Nation Debate) AUTHOR: Ryan Coetzee is a Member of Parliament and the Democratic Alliance’s CEO

Freely and fully copied from:-


KG said...

Now, that is my idea of a real opposition speech!
Here in NZ? Not a snowball in hell's chance.

mawm said...

Yep it is. The DA, an offshoot of the old Progressive Party and United Party, has shown that they are moral and have followed on in Helen Suzman's footsteps and are being the 'conscience' of the ANC.