A view from this side!

When I started out in journalism, I never thought I’d end up being a political animal. Thriving on the ranting and ravings of politicians. I preferred the softer stories, as most young journalists do. They’re easier to write, and help you learn the basics of the trade. Never in a million years, did I think I’d end up not only being a political journalist, but loving it at the same time.

Nearly 15 years down the line, and I have politicians asking me out on coffee dates, making private little jokes with them, and sometimes getting calls from them after hours, to express their unhappiness at how I portrayed them on the evening bulletin. Never mind that the camera never actually lies, and how I “portray” them, is actually how they behave. Try telling them that…..

Anyway, today was one of those days, when being a Parliamentary journalist just rocked. (Note to future scribes, a serious journalist would never say “rocked”, but that’s the only word to describe today events) And no amount of video editing, or script subbing was necessary, to do justice to this story. It was a journalist’s dream, just letting the story play out as is.

All I saw was COPE leader Terror Lekota standing up, emotionally explaining to the Speaker of Parliament, Nomaindia Mfeketo, why he recently made alleged derogatory comments about President Jacob Zuma. Lekota recently accused the President of violating his oath of office. A comment that incensed the ruling party to no end. We all know there is no love lost between Lekota and the ruling party, so what happened next, did not really come as a surprise, but yet, it was interesting to watch.

Mfeketo ordered Lekota to withdraw his remarks, saying they were serious allegations against the office of the President. Of course Lekota, being the stubborn old man he is, refused. He said his conscience would not allow it. A spat erupted between Mfeketo, and Lekota, on from the sidelines, we could hear other MP’s trying to interject, to get a word in.

Mfeketo stood firm, and chucked Terror Lekota, her former comrade out of the house. The DA, and ID, also promptly rose, in support of the Congress of the People. Even the Freedom Front Plus walked out!! Including its leader, Pieter Mulder, who happens to be a deputy minister in Zuma’s cabinet!!! Now while all of this may not sound exciting to some of you readers, if you start following the dealings of Parliament, and understand the power and role of Parliament, and its duty to you as a citizen of this country, you will realize that all this crap, this stupid fighting between parties, finger-pointing, lack of accepting accountability, and silly ego-driven arguments, this all affects you directly.

Why? Because as MP’s, it’s their jobs to be making life better for you and I. And as tax-payers, you (or your parents), are paying their fat salaries. And yes, often the debates are very entertaining, but one has to ask, how much service delivery actually gets done?

A few weeks ago, during the house sitting, what did MP’s discuss? South Africa’s poor education system? Our failing public health infrastructure. High levels of crime? Communities being torn apart by drugs? No my friends. On the agenda that day, DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko’s latest hairdo. Granted, it’s a bad hair-do. But seriously, Parliament’s National Assembly is not the platform on which to discuss this. Rather leave it up to us journalists to giggle about in our newsrooms.

So anyway, the story today, aside from Bheki Cele being given the boot, and Zuma AGAIN reshuffling his cabinet, is actually, how does today’s proceedings, impact the effective running of this country?

That is the question you and I have the right to ask. And we need answers.

Our Political Penpal



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