by Yagyah Adams
What happened in the City of Cape Town’s last council meeting was a battle between order and chaos.
The EFF, cheered on by GOOD and the Cape Coloured Congress (CCC), led the chaos. They displayed their disregard for agreed-upon, valid council procedures, overall dignity and mutual respect for others.
Their behaviour was inexcusable and deliberate.
Since the meeting was being broadcast on YouTube, the disruptors wanted to show the world that they were inherently unruly and could easily generate chaos.
Their behaviour signalled that a democratic majority victory was irrelevant and could be overturned by “low-class, unruly, thuggish” behaviour. This is important to understand, as it reflects what is happening in parts of Africa, where valid leadership is overthrown by instigators of chaos.
Before the chaos starts, there is usually a period where legitimate processes are undermined. Those who instigate chaos in an environment where grievance processes exist cannot be dismissed, as it will lead to the next phase.
The councillors knew there was an hour on the agenda to discuss the taxi issue, agreed upon in the whips’ meeting, so there was no need for any chaotic behaviour.
It is evident that the EFF and its allies disregard valid processes. It also often does not attend portfolio committee meetings, where the details of issues are deliberated. When they do attend, they rarely contribute meaningfully, implying that they have minimal understanding of governance issues.
What does this mean for our democracy? If some people enjoy orchestrating and disrupting legitimate procedures, it confirms that we are becoming like parts of Africa, where chaos is almost acceptable.
Those responsible for the chaos must be restrained by all necessary means. For example, some councillors were screaming and running around, resisting removal from the chamber.
What should councillors do when they witness this behaviour? Must they allow this unruliness by compromise, or do they simply remove the chaos from our public forums and continue with legitimate governance?
When women behave wildly in a public forum and are removed to restore calm, but resist by fighting and screaming “I am a woman”, what must law-enforcement do when she is not ladylike?
What happens to the rights of the majority who want to continue with a meeting when a minority insists on destroying the calm and orderly interaction?
When upset, is it okay for councillors to swear at others using the Cape vernacular “Jou Ma se &@%#?”
* Cape Muslim Congress councillor Yagyah Adams.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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