JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
IT’S NATIONAL ELECTIONS TOMMORROW; and like most South Africans, I will vote too. I do not want to ever be associated with any political party, or attain any party membership. I see myself as a voter, rather than the member of any party. Putting yourself in such a position helps in making sensible analysis of the current political arena, and therefore make a better decision.
In my opinion, loyal membership to political parties is one of the very big mistakes that South Africans make. Last time I voted for the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC); for reasons I cannot even recall. But tomorrow I will not vote for them; they have disappointed many of us, even Desmond Tutu.
When I was a graduate student at the University of Cape Town, I once wrote on my Facebook profile; that, there’s no president who can solve South Africa’s social and economic problems in two terms. The challenges we face today as a nation cannot be conquered over ten years.
So given that reality, I want someone who, along with attempts to solve South Africa’s problems, will show passion about his job and set the agenda for his fellow citizens to follow through.
He should project leadership in times of protests or attacks on foreigners; he, as an individual, should understand economics to show an understanding of his job description and build confidence amongst his people. Perhaps most importantly, he should avoid controversies by his administration; but that he has to decide how to do it.
Even though Jacob Zuma came up with the National Development Plan and the National Health Insurance (which many have hailed) in his first term, I do not believe he deserves the second term.
You see, almost everyone has a plan, we all have a plan; but what matters most, especially in politics, is whether you can be a great, decisive leader. Even Barack Obama was not voted because of his policies and plans, but mainly because of his eloquence and charisma. And most importantly, because he made Americans believe that he was suitable for the job.
What’s the point when you propose a National Development Plan then lose R30 billion over a financial year? Or implicitly side with unions in strikes (he ought to be impartial), or unduly spend more than R200 million of taxpayer’s money on your private residence, or to do not even understand why investment in South Africa is drying up (comparatively), or let kids learn without textbooks for months.
By implementing e-tolls, isn’t that going take a hit on consumers who are expected to spend more to keep this economy productive? When you close liquor stores on Sundays, what’s the objective? I could go on, but due to time constraints I will stop here.
Die-hard fans, such as Mr. Zwelakhe Hlubi will tell you: more public houses have been rolled out, more healthcare facilities have been built, more kids have access to education; all this since 1994. To me such an argument is utter nonsense. Obviously the situation since 1994 is better than it was, because this is not a country of a bunch of sheep – it’s a country of people with brains.
Comparatively, South Africa is not doing well. It supposed to be at a way better place than where it is. Our progress must not be measured by how much social grants we have rolled out; but by how many people can financially support themselves. That may take time to achieve but it ought to be our daily conversation and our objective. Certainly not something politicians have to campaign about; but they do because they want power.
The point I raise above is that even though Zuma has introduced these two bold plans (of which many core elements I do not agree with), he’s conducted himself and his administration in a despicable way. And it is for this reason that I will vote for Hellen Zille’s Democratic Alliance (DA) tomorrow.
Whenever I ask people why they won’t vote for DA; the responses I get are earth shattering. What I hear most of the time, is that the DA is the party of the privileged Whites; that it will bring back apartheid should it be voted into power; that everybody is corrupt anyway (so there is no need to eject the ANC out of power).
None of these have to do with the DA’s ability to govern, in comparison to the ANC. If there is only thing we have to think about, it’s that post Cold-War, a united world led by the United States was formed, or at least we tried. The results of this formation were astonishingly positive, to an extent.
So institutionalized racism and human rights abuses have mostly been renounced and abrogated across the whole world. Even those leaders who govern in such a way, have endured severe punishments by the international community. Besides, our own institutions would not allow for that; and since Whites are a minority, apartheid would not prevail.
In my eyes, the DA seems clean (relatively of course); led by a courageous woman – Hellen Zille. And if there’s any party that reflects Mandela’s Rainbow Nation, it is the Democratic Alliance.
The Economist is correct to point out that “The DA deserves to be endorsed. It has doggedly promoted non-racial and liberal values and sensible economic policies. It has a decent record in government as the party that has run the Western Cape Province since 2009, and the city of Cape Town for several years longer. And it stands for many of the hopes and values of the post-apartheid black middle class”.
In the Western Cape where it has governed in the past four years, there seems a rise in migrants; and Cape Town ranks among the best well-run cities in the world. Some claim, the DA run province has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. I’m not sure how true that is. The party has conducted itself very well, at least according to me.
It symbolises the post-apartheid South Africa with the emerging black confident middle class. It is exactly what the country needs at the moment. It has never resorted to dirty divisive racist rhetoric as some parties have done. They have a plan that I believe would work. They deserve a chance more than the ANC at this point.
You will notice that there’s a lot of negative things I said about the ANC above; but very less of the DA. The reason for this is because, yes there may be many things to criticise about the DA; but in comparison to the ANC, it is much a better party.
The Mail and Guardian urged South Africans to dilute their vote; well, I explicitly ask South Africans to vote for DA. Partly because my belief is that, the biggest test to our democracy will be the transition of power from one of Africa’s oldest liberation movements, to any other new party. That is what I wish to see in my lifetime. And since this is my dream, I will therefore vote against the ANC. At least this time, it will be the right thing to do. PM
© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI