President Jacob Zuma has drawn sharp criticism for his decision to have a military presence to help police "maintain law and order" during the opening of Parliament. Opposition parties have protested against what they are calling "the militarisation of Parliament". The Conversation Africa’s politics and society editor Thabo Leshilo asked Jane Duncan, professor in the University of Johannesburg’s department of journalism, film and television, about the implications of the decision. THABO LESHILO: Critics have called the unprecedented military presence planned for the opening of SA’s parliament unseemly. Is it? JANE DUNCAN: Not only is it unseemly, it’s dangerous for democracy. According to British sociologist Anthony Giddens, the separation of police and military functions is an essential feature of a modern democracy. There are good reasons for this. Militaries usually protect countries from external threats, while the police are responsible for responding to internal threats. As a ...

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