DA MP challenges Zuma

Time of article published May 13, 2010

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By Christelle Terreblanche

Political Bureau

A rising star in Parliament, DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko, has spurned President Jacob Zuma's proposal for a "national dialogue" that would allow South Africans to find a common identity, saying he should rather apply his mind to the "moral decay" of his government.

"If the president was truly concerned about morality and nation building then he would apply his efforts to the moral and ethical decay within the government... where ministers live high, using public money, and those with political connections abuse them shamelessly for the sake of personal enrichment," she said yesterday.

Mazibuko was speaking during the debate on the presidency's budget vote, which Zuma tabled with an announcement that the dialogue - aimed at overcoming "crisis points" and reaching "a common understanding as South Africans" - would be launched on July 29.

Zuma had previously mooted the need for a debate about morality, but yesterday said it would focus on "constant contentions" such as "transformation in the workplace, sports, songs and symbols, the language policy and certain cultural practices".

Mazibuko said the DA did not accept the notion that the government could seek "to shape the morality or personal conviction of private citizens".

It contradicted "the letter and spirit of our constitution, which guarantees our right to hold views that are different from others," she said.

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