2014 elections: A look at the opposition.

I write this in a state of mourning. I washed my hand this morning. I study at a hospital so washing my, right, hand is not the real reason for my moroseness. I attended Amambazo- The musical. When I was exiting the gents’ room, the lead singer of the Grammy-award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo greeted me. Needless to say, I was in there for a number one, not a number two, although number one does deliver a boatful of number two. I digress. Let us start again.

 

Citizens, fighters, and members this is about you. We are headed to the polls in 6-8 months time. Worry not, your food parcel and free T-shirt are on their way. A friend and I think it is a real pity that the DA does not deliver food parcels from Woolies.

 

The theme for next year’s elections: Education-Economic Freedom-Transport system-Anti corruption-Inequality-Healthcare-Non-Service delivery-and some other stuff.

 

Never before have the people been this gatvol with the ruling ANC. Marikana, E-tolls, Mining sector challenges, Guptagate debacle, Nkandlagate debacle, illegalities in the Police ministry, absurdity in Intelligence, lack of basics in Basic Education, I could go on and on but I do not want to be labeled a ‘clever black’ spewing vitriol that is opposite-of-the-positive.

 

This is not about the ANC, okay it is but it is not. Think of it as analyzing the Soweto Derby but principally looking at how the opposition, Orlando Pirates, fared in the game. In a nutshell, if there is so much dissatisfaction with the ruling party who is offering a ‘better life for all’?

 

We have 230 political parties in SA. Most are irrelevant and do not deserve scrutiny. We have 13 parties currently represented in parliament. We have a confused party called South African Communist Party that is represented in parliament, is lead by hard-core capitalists who cannot spell socialism to save their bourgeoisie lives, which does not participate in elections. We have 19 parties who have registered with the IEC in the last 9 months. Just imagine, you still carrying one unplanned pregnancy and 19 new potential presidents have emerged. Of the nineteen, we will look at Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Ramphele’s AGANG SA (AGANG) and the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP). The others are a waste of time, money and votes, but liberal democracy allows it so it is, very much, okay. If this is getting depressing kindly, join the DAGGA Party. They, much like everyone else, promise a post-election high. If you vote for the DAGGA Party, they will legalize cannabis. Depression and anxiety will return back to where they came from. Eight joints a day they say.

 

The IFP, NFP, UDM, PAC, AZAPO, ACDP, Freedom Front, FF+ and COPE et cetera are all not coping. Let us not waste too much time on them.

 

The official opposition is the Zille-led DA. They are growing! Zille’s clumsy rendition of the late Brenda Fassie’s memorable songs is having an effect. The response of black people has gone from “I love you ANC, wena DA leave me alone you want to beat me again” to “eish ANC is not good to me these days, now that he has money. Maybe I must listen to DA, eish mara better the devil you know…”. On a serious note, the DA’s ‘Know Your DA’ campaign is a failure on two, important, counts. 1. It leaves you not knowing your DA. 2. It leaves most, non-upper middle class people, alienated. So much for know your DA. It is rather difficult to know and become intimate and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears with DA when he calls you a refugee. Nonetheless, I expect the DA to remain the official opposition. I hope, for their sake, they do not lose Western Cape whilst pursuing Gauteng. The DA will need to become a whole lot more black before blacks can accept it as a solution. In this regard, they must be clear on where they stand on issues of BBBEE and Affirmative action. I sincerely hope I added enough ‘B’s’. Importantly, perhaps more importantly to many South Africans, the DA must be clearer on where they stand on grants.

 

AGANG SA members call themselves citizens. Now I do not mind Juju’s beret-clad militants referring to themselves as fighters because the implicit message is that non-members and non-sympathizers are non-fighters. This is no insult. However, when members of a political party call themselves citizens I am confused. Are non-members not citizens or perhaps are we members whether we know it or not? I like Ramphele as a person, and dare I say it I even like her as a leader at times. However, I think her campaigning is a bigger mess than what Mathews Phosa aptly refers to as the bit of a cover up of the irregularities at Nkandla’s home of the nation. Ramphele lacks credibility on key issues. When estimates suggest that, more than half your wealth is amassed via BEE deals you are not the person to tell people that this policy must be scrapped. Even if your views are, factually, correct. When you say you want to tackle inequality, proudly broadcasting that you are a millionaire is not the way to go about it. You limit the number of people who will listen to you to the same middle class group that the DA is fighting for. Without food parcels, flimsy policy ideas, groupthink passing as innovative ideas your prospects do not look good. Ramphele will be the first to warn against this, but as things stand the party is far too much of a one-woman show. Her personality overshadows the party’s ideals. With all that said, I look forward to having a parliamentarian who is not on a leash that leads to Luthuli House but has credible struggle credentials and intellect. We have missed intellect in our leadership since Thabo was recalled, haven’t we? In fact, we have missed it so much I saw a bizarre theory try to come to life. The theory suggests that since Thabo Mbeki did not complete his two terms he is constitutionally eligible to stand for election. It further adds that he will stand as the candidate of a united opposition. This is wishful, albeit elucidatory, thinking!

 

I include the WASPS for one reason. They are not significant in the numbers game however, the fact that some workers are so piqued at the trade union movements that they would rather start their own party must ring alarm bells for COSATU and the trade union movement at large.

 

This piece would be incomplete without talking about the Julius Malema led EFF. By the time, we vote he may be in jail reminiscing about the days of ANCYL conference parties and EFF’s birth. EFF is clear on policy, or rather the broad outline. Juju’s target market, disenfranchised youth will vote for him, if they register to vote. The IEC is aiming to register two million new voters. A large number of youth are poorly skilled, unemployed and sometimes are unemployable. Now why must they not jump on a train that promises land and honey and manna? Napoleon once said, “A leader is a dealer of hope”. Julius must turn up the rhetoric. However, he must be wary of potential damage of his populist statements, such as when he puts the death penalty on the table for rapists with “uncontrollable libido”. His statements may serve to alienate him from the middle class, which he will need if ever he avoids going to prison and the subsequent terminal illnesses people get there. The EFF fails by calling middle class black people coconuts. It is hard enough selling a revolution to people who do not need it. It is disingenuous to insult them in the process.

 

Let me offer a brief and somber summary. The ANC is not in a good shape. However, it has the minds and the machinery to win the upcoming elections comfortably. Most of the opposition parties are a waste of votes. By this, I mean they weaken the opposition. An ideal position would be fewer parties sharing the vote with narrower margins of difference. Just picture a DA-Western Cape, EFF-North West, ANC-KZN, ANC-GP, and AGANG-EC… The competition will divert some of the attention from bulging stomachs to the mouths of the masses. The opposition is likely to be lead by the DA. AGANG SA and EFF will kickoff relatively well. Their ability to stay on will depend on their ability to metamorphosize beyond the identity of their leaders. I look forward to the 2019 elections, which I think will be much more crucial to the direction this country will follow.

 

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is named after imbazo-axe. An axe is only a tool. So is political power. You can vote for a party/person who will use their axe to murder. Alternatively, you can vote for a party that will use the axe to chop firewood used to nourish a fire that will ensure that the roads are lit, learners do their homework in illumination and pots are kept eternally burning. Not just on days when a non-Woolies food parcel is thrown your way! 

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Sigh!

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Economic Freedom cannot possibly come in your life if you argue for a revolution. This is a misnomer. I admire the ignorant altruism though. Aluta continua!

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Yes we can pick our leaders. H.L. Mencken said it best. “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.”

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8 thoughts on “2014 elections: A look at the opposition.

  1. Another well-written and insightful piece. It helped me clear some of my own little questions about AGANG and the EFF. I think Dr Ramphele is a brilliant example of a leader who’s been typecast by her previous role, she’s a brilliant civil society critique but poor mobilizer of people. She lacks what Juju has, the ability to read people and tune in to their frequency so to speak. Juju’s far worse though, a sloganeer without much substance , which is what Dr Ramphele has, a lot of substance. Looks like the two leaders could form one great party, A GANG OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS anyone? I also totally agree with your view on the significance of 2019, by then, even the ANC diehards would have noticed that the days of one size fits all are over and vote on performance. Again, great piece.

  2. Nice article Sdu. It really did make me LOL – especially about the Woolie’s food parcels.

    I’m most curious about who I’ll end up voting for. Depends on who gives me the tastiest handout or most fashionable beret I suppose!

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