Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
7 May 2012

ANC rejects Holomisa’s statement on gays and lesbians

Office of Chief Whip also disputes suggestion MPs were coerced to vote for POSIB

MEDIA STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO INKOSI HOLOMISA

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip notes with great concern the recent utterances attributed to ANC MP Nkosi Patekile Holomisa where he has stated that “the ANC knows that the ‘great majority’ of South Africans do not want to promote or protect the rights of gays and lesbians.” The ANC Caucus distances itself from these views and would like it noted that at no stage has it considered debating this issue before Parliament.

The South African Constitution and its Bill of Rights remain the “cornerstone of democracy in South Africa” and Section 9 of the Constitution is viewed as one of the core values of the Constitution. It guarantees equality for everyone before the law and this equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. Our Constitution is clear that “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth”.

The ANC believes that any law which denies people the right to their sexual expressiondevalues them in our broader society and as such is an affront to their dignity and a breach of Section 9 of our Constitution.

We would also like to dispel a further accusation attributed to Nkosi Holomisa where he argued that some ANC MP’s were coerced to vote for the Protection of State Information Bill by Luthuli House. The Bill in question was discussed at the ANC Caucus meeting where it was unanimously supported by all ANC MPs.

The ANC’s key objective is the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society and we will not deviate from this objective. The ANC Chief Whip, Dr Mathole Motshekga, will at his earliest convenience meet with Nkosi Holomisa for clarity regarding his media statements.

Statement issued by Mathole Motshekga, The Chief Whip of the Majority Party, Parliament of the Republic of SA, May 6 2012

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