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In his letter, DA MP Manny de Freitas presents some good suggestions to improve the functioning of parliament, while also exposing the negligence and apathy of ANC ministers (“This is how to make parliament work properly”, July 29).
The DA should be lauded for its work to reform and improve parliament, but I am pessimistic about any concerted effort by ministers to start doing their jobs properly. As it stands, parliament is, in effect, owned by the ANC. There is no incentive for the party to introduce methods to punish its own members.
Any positive moves in parliament will come fundamentally from opposition parties, especially opposition parties working together. No single party in SA has the power or influence to change parliament, or introduce the changes needed to fix the country. But a coalition of like-minded and reasonable opposition parties can present a united force to voters and the governing party.
Coalitions already govern municipalities and local constituencies around the country with more success than the ANC alternative. Presenting a united front in parliament, especially considering that opposition MPs generally outperform their ANC counterparts, will go miles towards convincing voters that opposition parties are a viable alternative to the ANC; that they can usher in much-needed changes in parliament and the country.
Doubling down on forming and maintaining a coalition of reason is the most important tactic for opposition parties to embrace right now, a tactic that will see the ANC drop below 50%.
Nicholas Woode-SmithCape Town
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.