How low can you go?
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.