Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, has tasked Members of Parliament (MPs) to play the role being ‘the voice of the people,’ but not to echo positions by their respective parties.
Mbeki in a letter published by The Star newspaper implored MPs to vote based on the will of the people during an impending no-confidence motion tabled by opposition parties against President Jacob Zuma.
“It is therefore obvious and logical that Members of Parliament (MPs), each elected to this position by the people as a whole, and never by individual political parties, including their own, must act in Parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties to which they might belong,” the letter read.
Members of Parliament (MPs), each elected to this position by the people as a whole, and never by individual political parties, including their own, must act in Parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties.
Meanwhile, the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) have reiterated their stands to vote against the motion. The motion tabled by the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to be debated on April 18, 2017.
According to Mbeki, the second post-Apartheid elected leader of South Africa, the current crisis surrounding Zuma presented an opportunity for MPs to distinguish between the ‘true’ obligations of MPs to their constituents.
“It may be that the current political controversy has, at last, imposed on our country the opportunity and obligation the better to define the Constitutional and moral relationship between the people and their elected representatives,” he added.
Joint opposition protests planned on Zuma’s birthday
Meanwhile, nine opposition parties on Monday (April 10) announced the start of a series of protests against President Zuma on his birthday on Wednesday, April 12.
The decision of the parties followed last Friday’s protest organized by the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party that saw thousands of South Africans hit the streets nationwide calling for 75-year-old Zuma’s removal as president.
Leaders of the African Christian Democratic Party, African Independent Congress, African People’s Convention, Congress of the People, Agang SA, Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement announced at a press conference on Monday in Tshwane to hold the “National Day of Action” protest on Wednesday.
The latest round of protests comes after Zuma fired a number of appointees including the ‘respected’ finance minister, Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle last week.
The South African rand took a dip after the firing of Gordhan and the economy was downgraded to junk-status by two rating agencies – Fitch and Standard and Poors.