World

America Shouldn't Interfere In South Africa

| by Shani Shahmoon

As South Africans rally to protest against their current government, America needs to take a backseat and watch democracy do its thing.

KOAM-TV reported that tens of thousands of South Africans peacefully protested throughout the country on April 7. Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth were all reported to have had some form of protest against the current South African president.

The president, Jacob Zuma, has done countless things that have stirred up anger in his constituents. Most recently, he fired the well-respected finance minister, leaving South Africans livid and taking to the streets.

That being said, in addition to his bad reputation for unfairly firing and reshuffling his administration, Zuma has been accused of multiple corruption scandals since the start of his term in 2009, and will be facing a no-confidence motion in parliament on April 18.

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South Africa's history is tainted by the apartheid, which fell apart nearly 25 years ago in 1994, South African History Online reported. That year, a new constitution was put in place and the first ever non-racial election was held.

Since then, a new electoral system has been put in place in the defined democratic republic. It limits the amount of times a president can run for reelection, clarifies the length of terms, and has a system set out for impeachment, among many other enhancements.

As such, South Africans are protected by corruption (to some extent) and have freedom to protest and elect a president to their liking.

On April 5, 2016, the South African Parliament was called to vote on a notion to impeach President Zuma on a count of "serious misconduct," BBC reports.

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This charge was referring to the result given in March 2016, when Zuma was found guilty for failing to repay the government for money spent on upgrading his private residence, including building a cattle enclosure, an outdoor theater, swimming pool, visitor center and chicken coop.

He apologized and vowed to repay the government.

The vote to impeach him resulted in 143 in support of impeachment to 233 opposed. Parliament would have needed a two-thirds vote in order to impeach; therefore, Zuma has remained president.

For the sake of respected a fellow democracy, America should step back and allow the electoral and judicial systems to do what they were put in place to do.

It should bring relief to many South Africans -- and to the American government -- that Zuma, while he has his flaws, is set on maintaining the current policy that limits the South African president to two terms. He is currently in his second and is set to finish in 2019.

“We are very clear about the two term. The issue does not arise at all. I think it is very healthy for us here in South Africa that we don’t stay forever,” he said in 2015, Bloomberg reported.

So far, South Africans have been practicing their rights to oppose the president and his actions.

And so long as South Africans are given these rights and a just judicial system that is held accountable, it's in America's best interest to stay out of their business.

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Sources: South African History Online, BBC, Bloomberg (2), KOAM-TV / Photo credit: Bloomberg

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