South Africans are heading for probably their most important election since 1994 when voting in the next government in April 2009. Unlike the post-apartheid elections — which simply confirmed what we have always known — that the majority would endorse the liberation party, this time the electorate will give us a clearer indication of where this multiracial democracy is headed in the long term.
In the event of a strong showing by the centrist Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People — as opposed to what is now a clearly left-leaning African National Congress — then the country will be sending a clear signal to the ruling party that regardless of the path they have chosen the public is swinging the pendulum back to the centre. As we saw in Zimbabwe in 2000, a defeat at the polls for Mugabe and the Zanu-PF did not signal an about-turn in their policies but rather the same policies with power being achieved through dishonesty and force. This has led to the destruction of that country. This is a lesson the ANC seems unwilling to learn.
An election, in simple terms, is the furnishing of a mandate to the majority party to carry out the policies that they have outlined to us in their manifesto prior to this election. Based upon that I have no hesitation in confirming that I will support the ANC for this election and even less in stating that for me it’s country first, party second, and I will continue to slaughter the ANC or any party that undermines the stability of South Africa. It’s for that reason I will never become a member of any political party.
South Africa has now been a multiracial democracy for about 15 years and while there are many who believe that there has hardly been any transformation of their lives, the opposite is in fact true in the case of the country as a whole. We have travelled an enormous distance from our racist past as only a trip back in a time machine to our country of say, twenty five years ago would reveal. However, and here for me is the nub of the matter, we are still a million miles away from where we need to be in terms of the masses of our country.
As a white father of three sons I have to accept that realistically, in order to redress the imbalance of the past , we are still going to require racially discriminatory affirmative action for at least the foreseeable future. Yes, the government needs to ensure that skills are protected but overall that policy needs to be kept firmly in place.
The same applies to black economic empowerment, which is there to uplift the masses and bring them into the economic machinery that drives the country.
Land redistribution is another issue which needs to be tackled far more robustly than it has been up to now, bearing in mind the ridiculous and destructive cronyism that has destroyed Zimbabwe. In terms of these three areas as well as the macroeconomic policies, overall, I am of the view that the presence of the South African Communist Party and Cosatu (even with its rabidly anti-semitic members like Bongani Masuku) will play a vital role in ensuring that both labour and the masses overall are given far more priority than has been the case with the centrist ANC. Indeed, Cosatu’s empathy with the masses of Zimbabwe and criticism of Mugabe, where the ANC could only see Zanu-PF, will stand the war on poverty in good stead.
My support and vote will go to the ANC, not the Zuma National Congress. As I have said previously, it is not in the interests of this country for the leader of the party to be up on charges of corruption. Whether the pro-Zuma faction like it or not, it is not in the best interests of South Africa to be seen to giving the presidency to a man who is being charged with a crime involving dishonesty. If regard is had to the so-called intention to clean up crime and corruption it actually becomes nothing short of ridiculous. JZ has said that if it is in the interests of the country he will step down. What is he waiting for? A nuclear bomb?
In addition, one of the major reasons why the ANC has not delivered to the masses is because of the criminal element, negligence and cronyism within the party. If just the arms deal money, the leakage and theft from social grants and the prop-up-Mugabe funds had found their way to our poorer communities instead of lining the back pockets of the fat cats then I have no doubt that their plight would be infinitely better right now.
It is in this area that I expect Cosatu and the SACP to play a vital watchdog role over the short term. If regard is to be had to the fact that it was them together with the left wing of the ANC and the ANCYL who led the fight against the centrists at Polokwane then I would expect accountability and oversight of the wealth of this country to be uppermost in their thinking.
In terms of corruption and cronyism, I expect the left wing to set about addressing the issue of deploying cadres in state institutions, ensuring that BEE applies to the masses and not a few elite fat cats, that theft of social grants and feeding scheme money — like in the Eastern Cape — becomes a hanging offence and that all the slimeball middle men get cut out of government tenders.
In terms of our foreign policies I would like to see us achieve a balance between being an African regional power and a global player. Up to now our record has, quite rightly, seen us referred to as a rogue state. We have supported every disgusting dictatorship the planet has to offer and been seen to be a leading light in opposing gender rights. I can only assume that when the party addresses the issue of the equality of women it also endorses those laws that are designed to protect them. So, for example, when the next draft against rape being used as a weapon in combat is tabled at the United Nations perhaps we might be seen to support it rather than oppose it. In terms of gay rights why not shock us all and propose legislation to empower this long suffering community.
Overall, I am of the view that the policies proposed by the ANC are the closest to my thinking on what South Africa requires for the medium term. Accordingly I will be giving them my vote.
I will also continue to give them the biggest kick up the backside every time they fall short.