The leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Bantu Holomisa, has written to the chairperson of the African Union, Jean Ping, to complain that actions of the African National Congress (ANC) and government are breaking the fundamental principles of the union.
In an open letter to Ping published on Thursday, he complained that two principles in article four of the constitutive act of the AU have been broken.
They are: respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance; and condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of governments.
Holomisa said that South Africa's former president, Thabo Mbeki -- a man who incidentally was instrumental in championing the establishment of the AU -- was suddenly removed from office at the end of last year without even a token debate in the Parliament, which constitutionally is responsible for electing or recalling the president.
"The caretaker president that the ruling party has appointed now appears to be under pressure to rush into legislation that the ruling party prefers, irrespective of his constitutional obligation and the oath of his office, which enjoin him to consider each law carefully and act in the interest of all the people.
"Several other disconcerting actions by the ruling party in the past year add further weight to our concerns that South Africa is being steered away from its noble constitutional democratic principles," the UDM chief said.
"The leading unit for the investigation and prosecution of corruption and organised crime has been disbanded -- after investigating leading members of the ruling party.
"The public broadcaster's board is now openly a panel of people who serve at the whims of the ruling party.
Our police national commissioner [who was also president of Interpol at the time] is being prosecuted for involvement in organised crime, and in the process our national director of prosecutions was forced out of office.
"The ruling party has also been abusing public platforms to engage in highly inflammatory and profoundly undemocratic mudslinging against political opponents, and name-calling and threats of violence have been commonplace at their rallies in the past year."
Holomisa has called on the AU to ask South Africa to address it on why and how Thabo Mbeki was removed as president without following the prescriptions of the South African Constitution, and also to report to the AU whether there are now moves afoot to pressurise the acting South African president to enact certain legislation that he is hesitant to do. Secondly, he has asked that the AU commits itself as soon as possible to individual and collective election monitoring in the upcoming South African elections.
"The ruling party needs to understand that the eyes of their African peers are on them, and that certain democratic standards are non-negotiable," he said.