By Anazi Zote and Lameez Omarjee
A ‘quality over quantity’ government was the unanimous call of the three political parties represented at the Great Debate (#witsdebate) held last night on the Wits education campus in Parktown.
Bantu Holomisa, of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and a member of parliament (MP), Farouk Cassim, Congress of the people (COPE), and Mkhuleko Hlengwa of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) participated in the third debate which focused on the viability of small parties as opposition to the African National Congress (ANC) and the larger opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Quality over quantity
“[It is] not about numbers, [but rather] about quality that counts in the politics of a (our) country… Look at the numbers of big parties, they can’t even deal with their corrupt president,” said Holomisa.
In the same voice, defending their party size, Cassim, of the still relatively new COPE party, said: “We may be small in size, but not in vigour and voice. In vigour and voice we are powerful, the country hears us”.
“Whether we get the numbers or not, the IFP is here to serve … the populist agenda, which the main party is relying on, is going to be broken,” added Hlengwa.
Cassim told Wits Vuvuzela, “Mass parties world-wide are going to be extinct, they are going to be of no value because the trend of the future will be smaller parties … acting as conglomerates.”
Hlengwa emphasised that opposition parties did not exist simply to oppose but to constructively create progress. He told Wits Vuvuzela that “if you criticise for the sake of criticising, then there will be no progress”.
All three parties echoed the sentiment of having an accountable and transparent government for the benefit of all South Africans. “In the past five years, there has been a lack of accountability and responsibility,” said Hlengwa.
This is no longer a democracy, it is a demo-crazy.
Holomisa warned South Africans not to follow the footsteps of a corrupt government because it will collapse. Small parties have a role to play in ensuring that there is no corrupt governance. “If we are quiet and we don’t expose these things, then we will be like other countries in the continent,” said Holomisa.
He also blamed the lack of votes for small parties on the misuse of government resources by the African National Congress (ANC), which relies heavily on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to be its [the ANC’s] mouthpiece. “
This is no longer a democracy, it is a demo-crazy,” he said. The final installation of the Wits Great Debate happens next week Thursday and speakers are still to be announced.
This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela