Let me just state upfront that this piece is about and directed at the DA. So if you find yourself thinking “for someone disappointed in the DA, he sure mentions them a lot”, worry not, it IS intentional.
The Democratic Alliance is currently the largest opposition party in South African politics. It has a greater than proportionate presence in media outlets. Especially, those targeting the higher LSMs. And until recently it had been running its best and most likely to succeed election strategy in its short existence. Even the emergence of the break-away movement didn’t seem to stall their momentum.
Then Helen Zille lost the plot. No, I’m not talking about the jet-setter strategy, that’s for the eco-warriors to comment on, I know not nearly enough about ecological matters to comment on that. What I do know though is what I expect political parties vying for my vote and the reins of power to do. And reducing my right to vote to a referendum on one man is not it.
I have no beef with the DA wishing to highlight what they feel is a potential threat to democracy/the constitution/their sleeping habits etc But that’s the key — HIGHLIGHT; I feel insulted as a voter when the organisation with arguably the loudest voice in the country decides to stop propagating its policies and urges me to use my vote in a negative manner. Is this what the legacy of Helen Suzman has come to? Scaremongering? Really DA, is that it?
Ndumiso Ngcobo wrote an excellent piece some weeks back on how the most effective way of reaching out to a new audience is to sing a tune (insert own Mshini Wami joke here) that resonates with something inside them. Voting is not a negative action. Especially not for a majority that is participating in only its fourth national election. We are just not there yet mense.
Granted, I was never likely to vote DA (look no further than how Cape Town is the perfect microcosm of “two South Africas” for the reason why) but knowing there are other options available should the ANC really prove itself not worthy of my vote (hold your tongues people, I’m not done yet) is one of the things that make me feel secure about our democracy regardless of what majority the ANC has.
But to vote for an opposition party whose rallies have Zuma’s name splashed all over their T-shirts, billboards, posters and hoardings? None of the ANC’s election paraphernalia have Zuma’s name splashed on them as much. You have his face, as does every party, but the message is ANC, ditto the IFP, FF+, ID etc. And the message is vote FOR, not this “gevaar” nothingness inflicted on us by the DA. The MDC didn’t give Robert Mugabe a skrik by bashing him. He gets bashed all the time. It’s become so commonplace as to be useless in political strategy. They instead promised Zimbabweans a better future. Ditto Barack Obama when the Republicans started throwing mud around, he just carried with a, positive message. Why? Because negativity only works on the verkrampte, and lets be frank, as noisy as those types may be, they are never the majority of any society.
Is that really all the DA sees SA as being about? Think of the last DA press conference/public exhalation you encountered, what resonated most in your head afterwards? Zuma. Either you were FOR or you were AGAINST him, but Zuma dominated your consciousness. How is that good for the DA specifically?
Guys come on, you CAN do better. And the SA public deserves your very best.