Michael Mpofu

“THIS was the worst year, there can be nothing worse than this,” Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said yesterday, reflecting on the year in politics, while the ANC lamented the “death of quality opposition” in Parliament.

Lekota said the performance of the ruling party had been “appalling”, saying “the crisis that set in in the ruling party and in the alliance overflowed into government”.

The controversy over upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence, reported to be costing R248 million, had contributed to making this year “the worst”.

The constitution and the rights it protected had been under attack, including in the ANC’s reaction to the controversial painting The Spear by artist Brett Murray, which depicted Zuma with exposed genitals.

When the ANC leadership, including members of the cabinet, had begun to “rear their heads” in attacking Murray, opposition parties “couldn’t escape the responsibility” to react.

“It was an attack in fact on constitutionally enshrined rights, it was our responsibility,” said Lekota, who earlier this year likened the ANC’s march to the Goodman Gallery where the painting was on exhibition, to tactics used in Nazi Germany.

Asked to rate the overall performance of the ANC, Lekota said he would give it one and a half out of 10. He gave his own party eight out of 10.

But ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga’s spokesman, Moloto Mothapo, said his party had done well, especially in Parliament.

While disagreeing with opposition parties on some issues, the ANC’s approach to a multiparty democracy was based on building relationships, even with the opposition. This was necessary “to ensure we keep Parliament operational”, Mothapo said.

He accused the DA leadership of failing Parliament, however.

Mothapo accused DA Chief Whip Watty Watson of mistaking his role as the opposition chief whip, saying it was not to constantly oppose Motshekga.

Watson, meanwhile, said he was not surprised by these comments as Motshekga was “fighting for his survival” after his poor performance this year.

Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus said it had not been a good year because of the “attitudes of the ANC towards opposition parties”.

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe said it had been “a beautiful thing” to see opposition parties coming together.

IFP Chief Whip Koos van der Merwe said this year would be remembered for the “Secrecy Bill, court cases and Mangaung” – the ANC’s elective conference next weekend.