How low can you go?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

CAN IT be that the ANC’s elec­tion strat­egy for the Western Cape amounts to noth­ing more so­phis­ti­cated than a sort-of Mafia shake­down – is­sue a light beat­ing to, say, a shop owner and then threaten more se­vere stuff if cash isn’t forth­com­ing?

Hope­fully not. Even the strange ver­sion of the ANC that is emerg­ing un­der Ja­cob Zuma would pre­sum­ably not be that cyn­i­cal.

How­ever, the ANC’s pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Western Cape give ev­ery in­di­ca­tion of be­ing pre- pared to stoop to any level to un­der­mine their op­po­nents. Western Cape leader Mar­ius Frans­man, for ex­am­ple, is jaw-drop­pingly cyn­i­cal: his bait­ing of the Jewish com­mu­nity in an at­tempt to in­gra­ti­ate him­self with Mus­lim vot­ers is but one ex­am­ple. The am­biva­lent re­sponse from the party and its al­lies here to the dis­grace­ful events in Cape Town’s city cen­tre on Wed­nes­day also sug­gests it would rather ap­pease sup­port­ers than take a prin­ci­pled stand.

But per­haps the most re­veal­ing act of the week took place a day later when He­len Zille was booed off the stage at the launch of the Sal­danha Bay In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone by a group of peo­ple wear­ing ANC T-shirts. This ob­vi­ously or­ches­trated protest in Frans­man’s old stamp­ing ground sug­gests a cyn­i­cism about the demo­cratic process and the sep­a­ra­tion of party and state.

Why, for ex­am­ple, was Frans­man even there? It was not a party event and the fact that he is deputy min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions does not ex- plain his pres­ence. Pres­i­dent Zuma’s si­lence as events unfolded was also telling.

As a re­sult the party in the re­gion con­tin­ues along a tra­jec­tory likely to en­sure it per­forms even worse in next year’s elec­tions. Ev­ery time it shows its con­tempt for the demo­cratic pro­cesses, as it did this week, it chases more Western Cape vot­ers out

of its ranks.

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