South Africa: On Violence and Racial Slurs in Parliament

press release

The IFP expresses its deepest concern on the deterioration of race relations in our country.

This comes as yesterday's Questions to the President session in the National Assembly denigrated into a racial character assassination exercise and a violent brawl which ensued in full view of our people.

Our country stands at the brink of collapse of social cohesion and intolerance of difference of opinion. We have every reason to worry as these debates may spill over into the public.

The violent manner in which Members of Parliament conducted themselves and the triggers of yesterday's racially heated and defamatory slurs goes against every grain of our Constitutional prescripts.

The irony of it all is that at the time of the first Question to the President on violence at schools, Members of Parliament showed no better conduct than trying to strengthen their argument by resorting to use their fists rather than their tongues.

As Parliament is a mirror to our society, how then can we expect levels of violence - in schools, against women and children and in service delivery protests to decrease as "honourable" members themselves cannot refrain from resorting to violent means to argue merits?

The IFP condemns in the strongest terms any form of racial discrimination, violence in our society and Members of Parliament who cannot conduct themselves with the necessary decorum.

We encourage the Presiding Officers to act with the maximum sanctions against all Members who were in breach of Parliamentary decorum and rules.

Members of Parliament and our country at large must be able to agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

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