Blame for the Sona debacle rests with ANC‚ says Suzman Foundation

As the storm settles after the tempestuous State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week‚ the Helen Suzman Foundation says blame for the chaos in parliament lies with the ANC.

Foundation research fellow Aubrey Matshiqi said the mayhem was a product of ANC infighting and other internal dynamics. He spoke in Durban on Thursday night at a Democracy Development Programme public forum on the implications of President Jacob Zuma’s address.

“The EFF is a direct product of those internal ANC dynamics‚” he said.

Matshiqi said that while the ANC talked about “unity in action” there were contradictions. While there might a lot of action in parliament‚ the first part of that slogan was glaringly absent. “The ANC is not united‚” he said.

Matshiqi pointed a finger directly at Zuma as the centre of the chaos in the ANC‚ singling out his stormy rise to power as the cause of disturbing events both in the country and the ANC.

He said the “complete breakdown in trust” between Zuma and many South Africans meant the president — and the ANC — had lost its grip on power.

“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 said.

He described the EFF as the party of “teletubbies‚ overalls and makarabas” — but that frustrations with the ANC could attract people to Julius Malema’s party.

“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 said.

Matshiqi also warned that “a particular political culture was taking root“‚ where the state resorted to using police when the opposition took 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?” asked Matshiqi‚ sarcastically.