‘The worse crime is assuming someone is guilty because there’s a complaint’ — Buti Manamela
Deputy minister of higher education, science and innovation Buti Manamela has criticised opposition parties for ostensibly using a debate on the presidency budget vote as “a trial of President Cyril Ramaphosa”.
Manamela said it was disappointing that MPs, as people who swore to uphold the constitution, called for Ramaphosa’s removal when no due processes had been followed.
While he agreed no citizen should occupy the highest office if they are found guilty of a crime, he said “ the worse crime of them all is to assume anybody who a complaint is laid against should therefore be found guilty”.
“In a normal sequence of jurisprudence, the police are supposed to investigate the case and satisfy themselves that a prosecution is possible, and that the letter of the law be followed.
“But this afternoon we have witnessed members of this legislature, sworn to protect and uphold the constitution of the country, tear it apart and assume the role of police, prosecutor and judge, all to satisfy their lust for power, higher office and vengeance,” he said.
Manamela accused opposition MPs of being “hell-bent” on ignoring what the budget vote debate should be about, which is how the presidency will use allocated resources.
“Doubt has been created through the court of public opinion that irrespective of every right inked and guaranteed by our constitution and this parliament, it is members of this very house who are willing to woo the people and bay for the blood of the president.
The court of public opinion has been mobilised to hammer the untruth that the intention of the president is evasivenessHigher education, science and innovation deputy minister Buti Manamela
“The court of public opinion has been mobilised to hammer the untruth that the intention of the president is evasiveness,” said Manamela.
MPs from opposition parties called on Ramaphosa to “come clean” about the 2020 robbery at his Phala Phala farm, with the EFF delaying the session by more than an hour as its MPs interrupted the session while objecting to Ramaphosa’s address.
Some parties expressed concern about the matter, saying the president had questions to answer about the cash stolen at his farm.
Manamela said parliament should never succumb to those who want to rob the public judicial system of its role administering justice.
“We have heard many here shout that the president should step down because there are allegations against him, I am yet to hear any member from the EFF, or any other political party, step aside merely because they are facing allegations,” he said.
He said the real reason opposition parties wanted to use parliament as a platform for a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa was to prevent him from telling SA about his administration’s successes.
These included how government was lauded internationally for handling the Covid-19 pandemic better than many countries.
“Not only have we witnessed the vaccination of many adults, 40% overall, but we have also built capabilities to produce our own vaccines beyond dealing with Covid-19,” said Manamela.
“The trust between the people and its government under Covid-19 lockdowns drastically increased because at every step of the way, the people were taken along, lives were saved and as far as possible livelihoods and incomes were spared,” he said.
“ The opposition wants to divert us from the real budget vote debate because it will reveal unemployment in the first quarter of this year declined by 0.8%.
“To you who sleeps with a warm belly and a roof over your head this means nothing, but to the many who were deprived of an income, this and other good news are what should be the order of the day,” he said.
Manamela said things did not happen because a magic wand was waved to make the economy work, but because the foundation of a democratic and capable state grind towards progress.
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