JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT WHEN most people, if not all, head to the polls, policy is the last thing in their minds? Eight out of ten times, we do not vote for a certain party because of its economic and social policies. Although sometimes that maybe the case, it is rare. Even Barack Obama was not voted for what might have been described “brilliant” socioeconomic policies, that could have helped drag the U.S out of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. He was voted mostly because he was likeable and very articulate, in comparison to his opponent – John McCain. He communicated his vision very well, which helped him get into the Oval Office.
Coming to our shores, I was startled by Mr. Zwelakhe Hlubi’s status on Facebook not so long ago. He criticized Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters for building a house for one of President Jacob Zuma’s neighbors in Nkandla. He labeled this action an “insult” to those for whom the house was built, and a “not-smart” political move from the EFF. Of course his comrades weighed in, calling EFF loud mouths with no alternative policies to the ANC.
I disagreed with Zwe. Julius Malema did the right thing, politically. His aim was to show dissatisfaction with Zuma’s Administration. Building the house for the president’s neighbor, just next to his home, was the only way the EFF could be on the spotlight. They need that in a political battle.
You see, as I said in my opening paragraph, people do not vote for a political party because of its policies. If that was the case, then the ANC should have been out of power long time ago. They vote for the likeable and eloquent men and women, who seem confident of their convictions. Infact, some have been voted just because they sing very well.
If South African opposition parties want to make a showing at the national polls this year and beyond, then they should not stick to policies only. In addition, they have to discredit the ANC; denounce it; and label it a corrupt party that has failed to uphold Mandela’s ideals. In my opinion, sticking only to policies, is the reason they will suffer a severe defeat from the ruling party.
So I personally think this was a bold move from Malema. Of course it’s risky, like any political action prior the elections. But it shows he’s started a political fight with the ANC. That’s good. Because remember, to be elected, you must win the political fight first. PM
© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI