Image via: flickr
Image via: flickr
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Mmabatho Mokause, during a National Council of Provinces (NCOP) debate on International Democracy Day under the theme: “Reaffirming the values and principles of our constitutional democracy,” had mouth fulls to say about President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government.
Calling him a rented president, Mokause said his allegiance will always lie with “big business” rather than with South Africans. Ramaphosa, on the other hand, maintains that he puts the citizens of the country first.
Mokause said dignity is a foreign concept in relation to the lives of ordinary, poor and working-class South Africans. Without access to the most basic of services such as water, electricity and sanitation, South Africa has become a textbook example of a country in crisis.
“Instead of legitimate voter education and participation, our people are reduced to selling votes for free t-shirts and food parcels. The participation of big business in the country’s politics also hugely undermines the central tenant of democracy,” said Mokause.
Mokause said their ability to buy votes, from the level of political parties to national elections means that those with deeper pockets can manipulate the democratic process to install the leaders they want who would then lead, not for the people, but for those who paid for them to be in these positions.
“The case of President Ramaphosa is a very good example of this practice. We now all know that big business invested over a Billion Rand to have him as a leader. His conduct since he became president shows that he owes his loyalty more to big businesses than to ordinary South Africans,” she added.
Mokause said that through the money made available to Ramaphosa, he has captured all critical sectors of the nation.
“But it is not him who sets the tune, it is those who paid for him. He is basically a rented president,” she said.
“Those who invested in him now have undisturbed access to state resources. They control all state-owned enterprises, they control the policy discourse, they are in charge of government procurement,” she added.
Mokause said many South Africans have lost faith in the government and Ramaphosa’s ability to lead the country in such a way that ordinary South Africans can meaningfully gain from the fruits of a democratic dispensation.
“Even the “New Dawn” smokescreens meant to restore hope for our people, have failed to hide the deep-rooted structural, socio-economic and racial inequalities in South Africa,” she said.
“Against a backdrop of decades of inequality and neglect, where we are now is a stark contrast to where we thought we would be and it seems that with each passing year we descend deeper and deeper into an abyss of hopelessness, disillusionment and frustration, marked by service delivery protests, violent crime and corruption,” she added.
Mokause said this is shown by the declining participation in voting with every passing local and national election of those South Africans eligible to vote, about 49% voted in the 2019 elections.
“It is no secret that low voter turnout weakens democracy and growing disillusionment has a big role to play,” she added.