South Africa: sliding toward authoritarianism?

Terry Bell Writes

(Produced for the March edition of Zambia’s Bulletin & Record)

South Africa’s teflon president Jacob Zuma, was at it again in February, slipping away from responsibility after the State of the Nation Address debacle in parliament. Within hours he had distanced himself from any knowledge of the jamming of digital signals that curtailed media reports and from the subsequent melee when an armed, plain clothed, security detachment dragged, punched and kicked Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MPs from the House.

The millions watching the live television broadcast were spared the sight of the clash between EFF members and security, headed by a senior police official, Captain Walter Prins. Despite requests from media houses over the years to broadcast their own coverage, the only cameras allowed into the national assembly are controlled by parliament and they ignored the punch-up in favour to focussing on the Speaker, Baleka Mbete and her deputy, the…

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