President Jacob Zuma and his allies have called for disciplinary action to be taken against ANC MPs who supported a vote of no confidence in Zuma. Calling these MPs “traitors”, “Askaris”, or (slightly less incendiary) “ill-disciplined”, they have argued that MPs are only elected to the National Assembly (NA) because of their membership of their party and must at all times obey instructions from their party. This view ignores the precedent set by the recent Constitutional Court judgment on the vote of no confidence. It also fails to consider the possibility that provisions in political party constitutions that allow parties to expel MPs who vote against the party line might themselves be unconstitutional.

Before the 2014 election, several ANC members I know argued that they would vote for the ANC, despite their grave misgivings about the leadership of President Jacob Zuma. This was, they said, because you do not only vote for the leader of a party, but also for its policies and for the many good people in the party, including those on the party’s electoral list who would ultimately represent the party in the NA. Similar arguments were used by DA members weary of the propensity of its then leader to sabotage the party with Trump-like Twitter outbursts. (That was even before Helen Zille claimed that colonialism was not only negative, praising the piped water installed for white South Africans after colonial conquest and the apartheid judiciary.) (more…)


Quote of the week

Wonder Woman allows its heroine all the trappings of free, courageous, independent womanhood. It even cheers her on when she bashes up men. It merely propagates the unhelpful myth that if a woman is nice enough, pretty enough, feminine enough, she can do such things without ever causing offense, or being called a bitch. Really, if you want feminist inspiration, you’re better off skipping Wonder Woman and going back to watch the wiseacre heroines of the 1940s: the ones played by Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, and Barbara Stanwyck.

Zoë Heller
The New York Review of Books
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