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Monday, September 21, 2020
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Parliament: Professionalism vs Hooliganism

The role of Parliament involves the promotion of the values of human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism, the supremacy of the Constitution, universal adult suffrage and a multi-party system of democratic government. Parliament aims at upholding our political rights, the basic values and principles governing public administration, and overseeing the implementation of constitutional imperatives.

Parliament’s foremost function is to represent the people and ensure government by the people under the Constitution. The constitution has given parliament the privileged task of achieving these roles and functions through passing legislation, overseeing government action, and facilitating public involvement. A lawless society would be marked by uncertainty, unfairness, unreasonableness and inequality. It would most certainly be a conflict ridden society in which those most physically or financially powerful would rule.

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of scrutiny and even criticism on Parliament as MP’s have been engaging in heated debates and in some cases, EFF MP’s in particular, being thrown out of parliament due to severe disruption of the house.

 Professionalism is not just an activity; professionalism of an activity is a measure of societal strength and performs a special function for humanity. Professionals must maintain their integrity and honour if they are to perform their tasks properly. We expect our children to be thrown out of the class-room when they are disruptive, but do we expect the same from our honourable members of parliament? There is a grave responsibility and an inherent element of trust mandated in occupying the role of a member of parliament.

 Elements of virtues of respect, honour, integrity and dignity are all virtues that the Constitution has envisioned and are certainly expected to be maintained and upheld within the privileged house. It should be considered a privilege and an honour to be a member of parliament and it is important that members are aware of the rich history and function, not only of the legislature but the Constitution of the Republic as well.Section 2 of the parliamentary code of conduct provides that members must adhere to the following; “Leadership: promote and support ethical conduct by leadership and example” and that tasks must be carried out in accordance with constitutional imperatives. Ethical conduct is vital to the notion of professionalism.

Ofcourse spending R246 million of state funds on a private home is deemed to be unconstitutional, but behaving inappropriately and absurdly in an honourable house such as parliament in response does not seem to promote and adhere to the constitution either. Where is the line drawn? If our leaders and our honourable members of society are allowed to behave in such a manner, where do we as ordinary law-abiding citizens stand?

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