Bar for entry into public office is set too low

Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi

Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi

Published Mar 6, 2024


Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi

In reference to the State of the Nation address theatrics by the EFF in Parliament on February 12, 2015, Professor Itumeleng Mosala made the following observations: “Last night, the events at the State of the Nation looked tragic and farcical. But they were also comical. It is, or should be, clear that the country has never needed leadership than at this point! Of course, we mean leaders not celebrities!“

The chaotic scenes that many of us witnessed on live national television at what was supposed to be an “ordinary humane” sitting of the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council lawmakers, was not only comical and tragic but also a display of one of the worst behaviours we have witnessed since the EFF’s entry into parliamentary and councils politics.

It also shows that the standard, quality and, criteria we have set for someone to qualify as public representatives in South Africa is, by any standard, far too low. I am not even sure if there is any standard or bar to refer to at the local, provincial and national level.

Many of the public representatives display anger issues and lack emotional intelligence, conflict management and negotiation skills. They are often too quick to resort to disruptions of meetings/sessions and violence rather than trying to resolve disagreements as humanely as possible.

It is worrying that some of our public representatives who are meant to be our “lawmakers, defenders of the constitution and rule of law” at councils, provincial legislatures and Parliament continue to behave in the manner they do at council meetings and provincial legislature and parliamentary sittings. The worst thing is that these are the people who, as public representatives, are supposed to be exemplary leaders.

In 2024, when we have many problems, we certainly do not deserve these types of public representatives at any level. Not even a kindergarten deserves this type of leadership. We appeal to all patriotic South Africans across all political divides to unite in condemning this kind of behaviour by public representatives in councils, provincial legislatures and Parliament.

Many of us are tired of the spurious points of orders and disruptions of council meetings and provincial legislatures and parliamentary sessions that we often see on live national television. In my book, there is nothing robust, radical or revolutionary about this kind of behaviour, neither does this type of behaviour demonstrate any leadership qualities nor superior logic.

We have set the bar for entry into public office extremely low. We have compromised the quality required at that level for someone to become a public representative in South Africa. I know that many of the bad and angry public representatives, their supporters and leaders will continue to hide themselves behind section 19(3) of the Constitution of the Republic.

There is nowhere in the Constitution of the Republic that says we must elect unruly and chaotic public representatives. They must go and re-read the entire chapter of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution to help them become better public representatives and leaders.

The chaotic scenes many of us witnessed live on national television at the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council sitting will not end any time soon as long as the quality of the vote is compromised because voters continue to support and endorse bad, disruptive, chaotic, angry and violent public representatives at councils, provincial legislatures and Parliament.

Lesego Sechaba Mogotsi, Azapo member is Tshwane.

The Star