The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) notes with the utmost dismay the scenes of violence, abuse and racism that occurred in our Parliament on Tuesday, the 6th of November 2018, when scuffle broke out in Parliament on Tuesday between members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance and Agang. While one understands that politics in its nature can be very confrontational, the actions of our parliamentarians cannot be condoned and are condemned in the strongest possible terms. These scenes are a cause for shame for our country and its entire people, especially the youth and even children who might be influenced by such violence.
There is little difference in the scenes of violent behaviour in Parliament and those which has been displayed on social media occurring in our schools and society. It is important that leaders become cognisant of the fact that they influence and mould the culture of society through their actions. Our leaders especially those in the lime light need to model the kind of values and practices that should characterise our country and not merely pay lip service to same. South Africa is faced with a mammoth task of nation building and should we wish to see a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights as envisioned in the Constitution, Parliament needs to model same in how they conduct their proceedings.
If Parliament fails to rid itself of this cancer then the honour, respect and dignity of Parliament will forever be compromised and this will unfortunately lead to further moral decay of our society.
At this crucial stage in our history, when the thieving, looting and violence are rife, NADEL calls upon Parliament to raise its standards as the highest in the land and not at the lowest. To that end, NADEL calls on Parliament to set the bar high and impose the severest punishment for bringing the house into disrepute, as a result of any act of racism and/or violence, viz., expulsion from Parliament for a minimum of five years and a fine of R250 000 on the political party concerned. This punishment must be introduced and enforced forthwith if we are to advance the fast eroding dignity and credibility of Parliament. The nation must take the work of Parliament seriously
NADEL once again affirms its commitment to the strengthening of our constitutional democracy, the separation of powers and the rule of law. Whilst the freedom of speech is sacrosanct, it must be coupled with respect and dignity, especially within Parliament which should serve as a model for good behaviour for all in our country.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA,
BY: The Office of NADEL National Secretariat,
National Executive Committee,
Nolitha Jali, (Secretary General)
071 689 3705