ANC resolutions will close down the democratic space - Phumzile van Damme

DA slams ruling party positions on media tribunal, ICC and reducing the number of provinces

ANC’s NGC resolutions will close down the democratic space 

The problematic resolutions adopted by the ANC at its National General Council (NGC) this weekend are indicative of a party in rapid decline and desperately trying to hold onto power by eroding South Africa's hard-won freedoms. 

Some of the problematic resolutions include requesting Parliament to conduct an inquiry on the "feasibility" of a Media Appeals Tribunal; withdrawing South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC); and reducing the number of provinces. 

If any of these resolutions make their way to Parliament, the DA will use all available avenues to oppose them, including considering legal action. 

It is our duty to defend South Africa’s Constitution, and the principles enshrined in it, against attack. 

Attack on the media:

The ludicrous re-emergence this year of the ANC’s Media Appeals Tribunal proposal is indicative of an autocratic party intent on controlling and manipulating the free flow of information, in order to restrict public knowledge. This is in contravention of section 16 of the Constitution which protects freedom of the press and other media; and freedom to receive or impart information or ideas. 

The Media Appeals Tribunal runs the risk of becoming a “hit squad” designed to fight battles with the media on behalf of the ruling party. This is a blatant attack on the media – which the DA will fight against – as we have done with the Secrecy Bill.

Reducing the number of provinces:

The ANC has clearly given up on trying to regain the Western Cape at the polls – and with the likely prospect of losing Gauteng and the Northern Cape to the opposition – it is has chosen to gerrymander. Reducing the number of provinces will fundamentally undermine the democratic rights of millions of South Africans who voted last year for an alternative vision for South Africa.The fact is that there are service delivery problems in ANC-run is not a result of provincial boundaries, but are poor governance. We will take this fight all the way to the Constitutional Court if we must. 

Withdrawing from the ICC:

The ANC’s decision to push for the South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the final nail in the coffin of South Africa’s human rights-based foreign policy. The ANC now sides with dictators, instead of the Rule of Law and justice for those who are victims genocide. The invitation to the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, to visit South Africa again is a smack in the face of the Rule of Law. Our government is currently in contempt of court for its failure to arrest Omar Al Bashir – and its violation of a court order. To do so again, would be, for a second time, in contempt of an order of the court and in breach of international and domestic law in support of a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands. 

These policy proposals are, without a doubt, the overtures of an ANC in sharp decline.

Now more than ever, it is clear that the ANC no longer has the people of South Africa's interests at heart, and will stop at nothing to cling onto power, including violating rights contained in our country's Constitution. 

Issued by Phumzile van Damme, DA National Spokesperson, 13 October 2015