As we look forward to next year’s polls, -what with some of us being first time voters- I can’t help but think how there are more questions than answers when it comes to the current state of South African politics. I can effectively say that I have no clue who I intend to vote for.
This is not because our country is spoilt for choice (that would have been wonderful), but because we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. More so that some would rather keep their right to vote to themselves than vote for any of the political parties campaigning at this point.
This will not deter some of us who intend to vote, even if it comes to an “eenie-minee-mo” situation, something HAS GOT TO GIVE! When Dr. Mamphele Ramphele launched the “political platform” AgangSA earlier this year, there was a lot of certainty on my part about who I would be voting for.
With her struggle credentials, corporate leadership experience, own money and racial inclusivity, this woman made sense to me. So strong was my conviction that I swore I would become a card-carrying member; hell, even I was surprised. I have never been interested in party politics.
I have to admit, though, that the effervescent euphoria initially felt has all but fizzled. For starters, the strange voyeuristic feel of this political party was problematic, perhaps it’s one of those things that one needs to get used to.
Then again, the Patricia De Lille’s of this world also sported their peachy smiles all over street posters for a long time before that marriage to the DA. It is arguably a one-(wo)man show, with the rest just handling the logistics and sundry bits, preferably, for the middle class citizens of this country. Not really inclusive now, is it?
Let’s not forget the proposal to review BEE policies from its very beneficiary. At least we are familiar with the fact that hypocrisy is by and large a prerequisite for any politician.
When the brain-child of none other than BigBaby aka Julius Malema, EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) was born, I was sceptical. After being stripped naked by the ruling party (with good reason) and the Receiver of Revenue, it wasn’t hard to see why Malema would clutch at straws. So goes his rhetoric about fighting for the “under-dog”; the poor, the disenfranchised, the working class.
Perhaps it is easier to mobilise these groups and to declare shared empathy now that Malema himself has descended from his splendid Sandown mansion’s balcony views. There are many corners of society, particularly the liberal cliques that are quick to shoot this party down as nothing but a get-together of fools with highly romanticized ambitions. Ambitious, it is. So are the radical policies on land reform, nationalisation and expropriation of land. I wouldn’t be so quick to do so, however.
The question is whether the EFF’s policies appear absurd because of Malema’s leadership? Is this vehicle likely to sink simply because of who is in the driver’s seat and not necessarily because society does not recognise the need for such policies to be tested?
I reckon it is naïve to assume that those who have joined (or support) the EFF need to have their heads examined, or that they lack intellectual capacity. It would also be naïve to assume that those with vested interest in maintaining the status quo as far as land ownership is concerned wouldn’t want to fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.
Most importantly, it would be virtually irresponsible to let some individual who has obvious personal scores to settle with the ruling party, and never mind a long trail of greed and rot behind him lead us anywhere. Some of us were born semi-shackled. That is, not quite as politically energetic as the 1976 generation yet not as politically indifferent as the Born-frees’.
I harbour little emotional attachment to the ruling party except for the nagging need to hold them accountable for their actions because they have direct impact on ordinary citizens. Credit can be given where it is due and criticism likewise.
I am more eager than ever to put an X on the ballot paper next year because of the increasingly arrogant stance of the ruling party. It will be more an exercise in getting the chip off their shoulder than one in acknowledging that AgangSA or EFF resonate with me. They have yet to prove their stripes.