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The most ominous development in the 18 years of our democracy is the strategy now promoted by key members of the ANC: to override the law, the courts and the constitution by employing riotous crowds on the streets.
This behaviour would have made the apparent role model of many of these leaders, Joseph Stalin, a very proud man.
We have seen this strategy develop from late 2007 when, not reason or an exchange of opinion, but mob tactics were used to humiliate Thabo Mbeki and replace him with Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC.
We witnessed the use of street mobs again when Zuma was first tried on a rape charge and then charged with fraud and corruption, charges that were later dropped under suspicious circumstances.
On both occasions, unruly crowds gathered outside the courts and at public gatherings pledging support for Zuma and threatening violent action if he was going to be convicted of a crime.
The same ANC Youth League that now says Zuma is a corrupt dictator and enemy of the people, then threatened to “kill for Zuma”. Julius Malema himself said then that Zuma would rule the country, even if it were to be from prison.
Two weeks ago the youth league got pretty damn close to inciting violence against white farmers when they warned that “land hungry” mobs would ignore the law and the courts and seize farmland, and then the safety of “Mr Van der Merwe and Mr Van Tonder couldn’t be guaranteed”.
But the strategy was first articulated clearly when the secretary-general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, declared during the Zuma Spear hysteria: “What we can’t win in the courts, we will win on the streets.” He said this while the ANC’s attempt to have the Spear painting censured was still before the high court.
And most recently another member of the ANC’s national executive committee and deputy minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, confirmed this new approach when he darkly warned that the constitution “would be interpreted on the streets” – rather than by the Constitutional Court, he obviously meant.
No wonder the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal adopted a resolution two weeks ago that judges should in future be chosen only from the ranks of the ANC.
“Going to the streets” or “rolling mass action” were very effective ways used by the United Democratic Front and Cosatu to force the apartheid government of the 1980s to back down and eventually retreat to the negotiating table.
“Going to the streets” was also the way the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen effected major democratic changes in their countries.
But these were the actions of oppressed people against brutal, authoritarian regimes.
In the SA of 2012, the ANC is the regime. We have been a democracy for 18 years. The ANC received more than six out of 10 votes in four general elections and formed the government and appointed the president.
The laws we have in this country were made or perpetuated by the ANC majority in Parliament. The ANC’s members of parliament can change any law as long as it is not in conflict with the constitution.
The ANC was the prime architect of the constitution our democracy is based on; the interim constitution of 1993 as well as the final constitution of 1996. It was the ANC’s idea that SA should become a constitutional state rather than one where Parliament is supreme.
The judges of our courts, including the Constitutional Court, are appointed by the president after recommendations by the Judicial Service Commission.
All the country’s regional judge-presidents are black. Eight of the 10 Constitutional Court judges are black, including the chief justice.
So why would the ANC leadership now want to use street mobs to override the laws the ANC majority in Parliament had made, undermine the courts and trample on the constitution it designed?
My answer would be that this is typical behaviour of cheap populists. They have failed and are failing to live up to the demands of the constitution and of the majority of the people of SA. They are now resorting to rhetoric, diversion and smoke and mirrors to fool the masses.
They are trying to hide their own impotence, caused by devastating internal power struggles.
They want to change the discourse from poor service delivery, corruption and wasting of state money to one about a threatening enemy and an assault on the humanity of the black majority.
The uncomfortable truth is that the present ruling Zuma clique is as much the enemy of the poor and the suffering as those who continue to thrive and enjoy the privileges apartheid had brought them and their ancestors.
The sabotage of the judicial system and the constitution by the ruling party can only lead to instability and, ultimately, anarchy.
Only a small privileged political class and the very rich will be immune to its impact.