Wed. Jun 26th, 2019

If not a radical shift, South Africa needs a political power redistribution

Through everything it has done and everything it has become, the ANC should be a low hanging fruit for opposition parties.

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The ANC has gone ahead, as many had suspected, and issued an electoral candidate list that includes all the names it should be ashamed of – were it a party that cared about issues such as integrity, ethical leadership, zero tolerance of corruption, and organizational brand reputation. The said names are so numerous that they’re not worth listing here, as they’re already out there and have been for a while.

Anyone who hasn’t bothered to follow the developments in South Africa up to now is probably going to keep walking blindly into the future, anyway, powered only by misplaced memories of past glory and heroic statues that began to crack and crumble long ago, and oblivious of the painful, scary, reality facing us today, as well as the even sadder prospects that lie ahead if nothing changes.

It is reasonable to imagine that no one in the ANC’s top leadership structures, including the Top Six and the National Executive Council (NEC), would have been surprised when the list was announced in the media.

President Cyril Ramaphosa – he who is often reported, and quoted, as being determined to give back the teeth and operational autonomy to South Africa’s criminal justice system to enable it to cleanse the country of all forms of corruption – also sits in these top structures.

And some of the problematic names also sit in these structures.

They, together with the president, enjoy the privilege of discussing sensitive, even classified, matters of state. It is hard to imagine them being asked to recuse themselves from meetings where discussions are had about what to do with people like them. 

I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the ANC’s electoral candidate list was discussed, prior to it being made public, to hear what was said, who said what, and how those who were happy with it managed to convince everyone else that it is the best the ANC can offer South Africa in these politically, socially, economically and morally troubled times in the affairs of our beloved country.

But then, perhaps it is best that I wasn’t there, for I’d most certainly have lost my grip and fallen to the ground with a loud ‘thud” and be made to regret being there in the first place.

The strange “Vote to Strengthen Ramaphosa”

This list must create quite a moral conundrum for the proponents of the “Vote to Strengthen Ramaphosa” campaign. Thus far, they have penned many fear and blackmail incarnate opinion pieces lambasting those who, with reason, fear the monster that the ANC has become and have resolved not to vote for it, accusing them of potentially depriving Ramaphosa of the mandate he needs to clean-up the ANC and South Africa.

The peddlers of such opinions always meticulously avoid stating in the views they share that we do not vote for individuals in South Africa, no matter how easy-to-the-eye, eloquent to the ear, and how cuddly they seem. We vote for political parties. So, they’re asking South Africans to give their votes to an ANC that continues to show them the middle finger even when it should be panicking, fearful that it stands to receive a huge electoral kick-in-the-butt if it continues in its current ways.

They always tell their lies with one finger pointing in the direction of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), intimating that failure to strengthen the ANC  (which has Ramaphosa as an inadvertent front) would be tantamount to opening the Union Building’s doors to the red berets.

Poor alternatives

While all of this is happening, opposition political parties – especially the DA which, in a different world, would be offering to South Africans the most credible, complete, persuasive, and mature alternative program that shows it is ready to lead – seem to be failing in their quest to convince sufficient numbers of South Africans that change away from the ANC is possible even after a quarter of a century of it being in power.

The longer the ANC, like its Zanu-PF friends in Zimbabwe, remains in power, the harder it will be for South Africans to imagine their country being led by another political formation.

We should not forget that the only time our country wasn’t led by the ANC it was a brutally inhumane place to be for Blacks in general and for Africans in particular.

Any party seeking to displace the ANC has to have, as part of its policy offering, the assurance that apartheid will never return – for many strangely believe it can, especially if the DA were to win – and that its harsh legacies will continue receiving the caring attention they deserve.

This can be done while necessary reforms are also made to BEE and Affirmative Action policies to ensure that young white South Africans born in recent years are also made to feel that the South African sun will shine for them too, and that they too are allowed to have long-term South African flavoured dreams and ambitions.

Leaving the ANC in power in its current state and with the candidate list it has made public can never not be good for our democracy. Through everything it has done and everything it has become, the ANC should be a low hanging fruit for opposition parties.

It is up to them to assure South Africans that they can be trusted to replace the seat of power and neither return the country to apartheid nor to drive it to the dogs, Zimbabwean style.      

Which of our opposition is up to the task?

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