Freedom Day – Politicians Actions Must Strengthen Democracy

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA Leader in the Free State

A political party that respects democracy and the freedoms and rights enshrined in our democratic constitution should ensure that this also forms the basis of its internal interactions and elections. Rights and freedoms can never be regarded in isolation from responsibility.

Political leaders who support the rule of law and constitutionalism will ensure that his followers respect the rights of others to differ from them.

Political leaders worthy of respect will act to prevent their followers from being intolerant.

Political leaders who have character will protect even their opponents from abuse and violence.

Speaker, it is sad that the ANC in the Free State is unable to show tolerance within its own structures. This internal intolerance indicates that the ANC and its provincial leaders have not reached political maturity. Liberation tactics have no place in a constitutional democracy such as South Africa. The ANC in the Free State will have to decide whether it is a liberation movement or a political party. The political responsibility and maturity that comes with being a governing political party, to a great extent, determines the stability of a democratic political order. Any threats to such political stability have serious economic and social consequences.

Respect and tolerance should not only apply to your political allies, but also to your political opponents. Rules should not only apply when you are winning, but even more so when you stand a chance to lose. Political leaders who instil these basic values in their ranks are worthy of the titles they may win during democratic contestations, both within their respective political parties and against other political parties in a democratic state.

We must take cognisance of this as we celebrate Freedom Day on Friday. Freedom Day is not just a public holiday, but a day on which we must do introspection to determine whether everything we as politicians do and say strengthens our democracy and improves the lives of our people.

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