by Howard Feldman | June 23, 2015 8:01 am
Gwede Mantashe is a not a smart man. He cannot be. There is simply no way that he would appear on national television and lambaste a troublesome Judiciary if he fully understood the consequences of his words. If he were, he would realize that that kind of language is dangerous and divisive and scary and makes everyone panic. And I am sure that he would never want that.
“There is a drive in sections of the Judiciary to create chaos for governance: that’s our view” he says, referring the fact that the pesky and somewhat annoying judiciary exercised independence and ordered that the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir not be allowed to leave the country, when his Government had every intention of spiriting him out of the country. He implies that the Judiciary has an agenda that is undisclosed and politically motivated. He in essence undermines one of the most critical features of a democratic society.
The ICC who has issued an arrest warrant, wants Al –Bashir, for genocide. South Africa is an ICC member and has taken on the obligations that accompany such membership. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is somewhat different to a gym or golf club membership, where a contract can lapse or one simply decides to stop attending because it’s winter and, well, its cold and there is plenty of time to get back into shape comes spring (hypothetically).
Clearly irritated by this flagrant act of justice and the reasonable application of the law, Mantashe did the only thing he seems to know how. He chose to openly attack the courts by accusing them of being part of a conspiracy to undermine and to cause chaos. Yep, and it is impossible to make this up. According to the ANC Secretary General, it is the court that causes chaos and not the fact that the ANC Government chose to defy the Judiciary well before it concluded its deliberation. His magnificent and somewhat breathtaking statement continues, with him implying that this is not the first time this Judiciary has behaved independently. And of course no one would want that (well no one who values our Constitution).
One of the interesting and more disturbing aspects of the al-Shabir debacle has been Government’s reaction to being caught with their proverbial pants down. Instead of hanging their guilty heads in collective shame, the ANC seems to have decided that attack is the best means of defence. Only it really, really isn’t. And no matter how hard they stamp their feet and scream that it’s the ICC who is to blame, that it’s the West, that it’s the Judiciary, it’s Bush it’s Blair, it’s Netanyahu or pretty much anyone else they can point fingers at, no one at all is buying it (aside maybe from Robert Mugabe). No matter how much they try to divert attention, the only ones that they are successfully able to convince is the party themselves (and maybe Robert Mugabe).
We might be accustomed to them getting their own way, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t see this for what it is. The al-Bashir incident and the reaction to it is a display of an arrogant Government who are used to acting without the consequence and who are used to getting away with it. The result is that they get very annoyed when challenged and are most offended by it.
The ANC Government has credibility crises. In that it has none. We have been taught to not believe any utterance. And we have been taught, by their behaviour, to view with deep and damaging skeptism anything that they assure us of. The list of failures is tremendous, the list of successes limited, we can only hope that the destruction of an independent Judiciary is not added to the list.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC Secretary General is an embarrassment to his party. He is the voice of our fears and manure to our insecurity. He needs to be ordered to stop talking and to rather spend that time reading ourH magnificent Constitution, that is the only thing that stands between us and complete chaos.
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