The Helen Suzman Foundation has laid the blame for the drama and chaos that erupted at the State of the Nation Address last Thursday squarely at the feet of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
Speaking at a Democracy Development Programme public forum on Thursday evening, Foundation research fellow Aubrey Matshiqi linked the chaos to the infighting and other internal issues the ANC is currently experiencing.
Matshiqi placed the president firmly in the middle of the chaos the ruling party currently finds itself in, pointing to his torrid rise to power as the root cause. He said that the president and the ANC had allowed their grip on power to slip as a result of the “complete breakdown in trust” between the president and the citizens he was elected to serve.
“There’s a breakdown of trust between those who govern and those who are being governed. Even if he were to stand and deliver one of the best Sonas‚ people will not believe him. People may not care how he delivers it because perhaps their minds have been made up on who they will vote for in 2019,” he warned.
The Economic Freedom Fighters were also mentioned, as Matshiqi said that they were a direct product of the internal strife occuring in the ruling party, describing them as the party of “teletubbies‚ overalls and makarabas”. He cautioned that it would be frustrations with the ANC that would attract people to the EFF.
“They will do so not because of the behaviour of the EFF‚ but despite the behaviour of the EFF. That will happen precisely because the sins of the ANC override the behaviour of the EFF,” he warned.
A final warning Matshiqi issued, was that of the use of police to subdue the opposition when taking a stand against the ruling party.
“How did we come to this‚ when parliament used to be a place where you used to come and sleep‚ to becoming a place where you can’t sleep in peace as an MP because of the chaos?” he asked acerbically.
The forum analysed the implications of President Jacob Zuma’s address.