The disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law begins with President Jacob Zuma but it does not end there, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said.
“You need look no further than our Parliament, and the recent developments there, to witness the extent to which our Constitution has been undermined. Parliament has become a lapdog whereby the sins of the president are absolved rather than admonished,” he told a gathering at the Laudium Plaza in Pretoria.
“On my travels, I hear people sharing the sentiment that if the president disregards the law then why should anyone obey the law. And we see this sentiment in the horrific developments just 400km up the road in Vuwani, Limpopo.”
When the president disrespects the Constitution and the rule of law, “the people of Vuwani think they can too. And this has direct and tangible effects on the lives of ordinary South Africans”, Maimane said.
Over the past few days, looting, vandalism, and the burning of schools had wreaked havoc across the town of Vuwani. Residents had had enough of the ANC government in the area, and had taken the law into their own hands. More than 50 schools had been closed, which had affected more than more than 60,000 pupils.
This could never be allowed. Access to education for 60,000 children was being jeopardised, as their futures went up in smoke. It was estimated the damage would cost in the region of R500 million to rebuild.
“I want to reiterate that it is never acceptable to damage public infrastructure, and we condemn the burning of schools in the strongest terms. Burning down our schools is tantamount to burning down our future.
“But we must see that incidents like these are as a result of a lawless president whose ANC has forgotten about the people of South Africa. Hopelessness is rife, as we see an ANC government that only cares for itself and its cronies,” Maimane said.