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Tribute to Cllr. Esther Mutumane

Tribute to Cllr. Esther Mutumane

Speech by COPE Cllr. Selata wa’Nkwane in Tshwane Council.

Honorable Speaker,
Executive mayor,
The Chief-Whip of Council
Members of the Mayoral Committee
All Chairpersons of the Section 79 Committees
Traditional leaders,
Aldermen, Alderwomen and Councilors
Family member of the Deceased Counselor Esther Mutumane
Our distinguished guests
Citizens of the City of Tshwane,

Madam Speaker,
Allow me to state from onset that Myself and Congress of the People (COPE) are mourning the passing of Cllr. Esther Mutumane and we are deeply hurt by her sudden departure from this world.

Again, allow me to start my presentation this morning by evoking the spirit of Steve Bantu Biko and talk the crude truth that is facing our society today.
Just as Steve Biko said, I quote, “I write what I like”; close quote.;
Let me talk the naked truth about our country to this house……..

South Africa is Sick!
South Africa is in the ICU!
South Africa is at war with herself!.
South Africa has lost the moral compass!
South Africa has thrown the principles of UBUNTU/BOTHO through the window
South Africa is in bed with the devil.

The dream of the rainbow nation of God as envisaged by the great Nelson Mandela and Ach-Bishop Desmond Tutu is in tatters And only divine power shall take us out of this quagmire of social melancholy.

I am saying this because I am perplexed by the level of crime that has engulfed this nation.
Every day, we count bodies of people who are murdered for one reason or another. Political killings are on the rise. Counselors are killed left, right and center.

In the City of Tshwane alone, we buried councilor Siphiwe Monthla from ward 37 hardly four months ago. He was shot dead as he entered his home back from attending a public meeting.

Today, another counselor has fallen; Counsellor Esther Mutumane was ambushed and shot at while driving in pursuit of her busy community service schedules.

I am asking myself as to how many more will be killed in this way?
How long will the killings continue?
Who is the next to follow?

What kind of country is this Madam speaker?
What kind of society have we turned to be?
The society that elect its leaders only to kill them?
Counselors are killed like flies.
We are been killed day in, and day out!
Madam speaker; Kere re a fela!
We are getting finished!

I am afraid, if things continue in this way, unabated;
No one shall be prepared to stand as a candidate counselor in future, because it is becoming a norm that when you are elected to be a counselor today, tomorrow you will be killed.

Madam Speaker,
We are not sure if this is political killings or pure criminality in a country that has succumbed to lawlessness. What makes matters worse is that even our politics are rotten to the core. Politicians who are supposed to set examples of good morals in the society are the ones who defy the very law that they are making. Look at what is happening in our National parliament. Look at what is happening in our Provincial legislatures and again.

Look at what is happening in this very house that we are sitting today!

We, the politicians defy the constitution and the laws of this country as if we did not make an oath of Office. And every time we act unparliamentarily, no consequences are meted against us. Some members of parliament have guts to stand in the chamber and call for the nation to commit acts that are unlawful and nothing is done to stop such behavior. Politicians loot and steal state resources as if there is no tomorrow. And when this happen, the people out there are watching.

We have turned this august house to be a den of robbers, A boxing ring, a place where we fight with chairs and water bottles and all. We trade insults at each other in the chamber, and we behave worse than common hooligans. We politicians, are setting bad examples and are making mockery of our democracy. when this happen, the people out there are watching.

We no longer show interest to public good. We undermine government for personal ambitions and narrow party political interest. We as counselors will not hesitate to disrupt official government public consultative meetings for selfish and narrow party political agendas. When all this happen, the people out there are watching.

When People out there who are watching us, imitate our behavior as their leaderswe get surprised. We wonder why our society is behaving the way they do.

We forget that we have taught them that:

  • it is good to be violent.
  • It is good to be disruptive.
  • It is good to disrespect the rule of law.

Now I say to you comrades and honourable counsellors that do not be surprised! We ourselves are the microcosm of the bigger picture that is playing itself in the streets of Mamelodi, Winterveldt, Soweto and any other place around this country. We as politicians are not setting good examples that the society should emulate.

We also fail to respect and tolerate each other; simply because we come from different political backgrounds; Or simply because one is black and the other one is white. We forget that when we are here, we are supposed to represent the society as a whole; even those who did not vote for you, they too, are still South Africans and we must serve them all, without fail. The standard of our political engagement has dropped below zero.

It is not uncommon Madam Speaker, to see your own comrade ready to stomach any action, good or bad, just to feed his own stomach. We are ruled more by material needs than the public good.
When the people out there behave the way they do, we are surprised but yet our own behavior as leaders, is teaching them to behave the way they do.

The people out there, think that whatever they see in the TV been done by members of Parliament and Councilors; it is the way that we should live as a nation.

Madam Speaker, we as politicians have indeed laid our own bed, but yet, we are too shy to lie on it. We must own up to this social melancholy because our own behavior has, to a larger extend, cemented this disaster. It is only after we own up and accept our own mistakes that we can rebuild the nation. Let us all change our wicked ways. Let us respect the rule of law. Let us refrain from self-enrichment, graft and ill-discipline and go back to basics.

Madam speaker, the level of violent crimes taking place in this country suggests that we are losing the battle against criminals.

It is high time that we consider reviewing some of our laws. Especially, DEATH penalty. We need to interrogate our consciousness if the right to life as envisaged in the constitution should be extended to someone who has taken life of another person. Is that fair madam speaker? that you murder someone and our own laws protects you from receiving equitable punishment? It is my honest belief that those who commit the crime of murder should forfeit their right to life as well.

In honoring the life of Counselor Esther Mutumane, when we leave here, I am going to approach COPE in National Parliament to propose a motion for bringing back death penalty as a deterrent for violent crimes such as Murder.

To the Family of Cllr. Esther Mutumane and to the ANC, please pardon me for saying things the way I did here today. I am deeply hurt, My bleeding heart is not with me, it is lying there in the mutuary where Cllr. Esther Mutumane is. I am emotionally killed by the same people who took the Life of our sister, our mother, our comrade and our colleague. Now that she is silent and cannot talk for herself, someone out there must talk for her and I am doing just that.

To the Executive mayor, you have noticed the trend on rampant killings of counselors in the city. It is high time Executive mayor: that this administration should look at possible ways of protecting counselors. Let us formulate policies as a matter of urgency to protect all councilors. It is not morally correct to give protection only to members of Mayoral committees and leave out the rest of the counselors at the mercy of armed criminals. Life is Life and it is sacrosanct. Let us protect all counselors’ lives the same way.

And to all counselors in this house, let the death of Cllr. Esther Mutumane unite us in a common purpose. Let us forget our political differences and work together to deliver services to all the people of Tshwane. Let us resolve to work in unison more than ever before and make the citizens of this city to benefit from our hard work.

I talk for CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE when I say:
• Farewell Cllr. Esther Mutumane.
• Farewell my sister,
• Farewell my comrade!
• May your soul rest in peace.

(Speech by Cllr. Selata wa’Nkwane; COPE)

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