ANC must earn the loy­alty of vot­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

AD­DRESS­ING an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion at Pre­to­ria Univer­sity, Pro­fes­sor Kishare Raga said the loy­alty peo­ple had for the po­lit­i­cal party (in this case, the ANC, SACP and Cosatu al­liance) that had brought them free­dom should not be un­der­es­ti­mated, and that while “there are cracks… loy­alty means ev­ery­thing. There is a debt of grat­i­tude that must be paid at the polls.”

“De­spite cracks, loy­alty will hold tri­par­tite al­liance to­gether” (Weekend Ar­gus, De­cem­ber 7).

Per­haps loy­alty means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but my view is that loy­alty can be a valu­able as­set, or it can be a se­ri­ous li­a­bil­ity, de­pend­ing which side of the fence you are on.

In the case of the ANC tri­par­tite al­liance, I feel that any­one punt­ing Pro­fes­sor Raga’s sen­ti­ments is on slip­pery ground, as no one should feel com­pelled to vote for the ANC in next year’s polls to re­pay a “debt of grat­i­tude” show­ing loy­alty to the party.

It is ab­surd to ex­pect loy­alty to a party that once held the high ideals and prin­ci­ples of our dearly de­parted Nel­son Man­dela, but which is now a sad car­i­ca­ture of those ideals and prin­ci­ples, hav­ing meta­mor­phosed into an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has earned much ex­co­ri­a­tion for its poor gov­er­nance and lead­er­ship.

Must the cit­i­zen in the town­ships and the gang-in­fested ar­eas of the Cape Flats show loy­alty and al­le­giance to a party whose lead­ers turned a deaf ear to their cries for help with the un­bear­able vi­o­lence they have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, of drug abuse, rape, gang­ster­ism and woman and child abuse?

Must the mil­lions of chil­dren show loy­alty to a gov­ern­ment that de­prives them not only of ad­e­quate learn­ing tools such as books, maps, desks, chairs, com­put­ers and li­braries, but of good, well-trained teach­ers who will lead them to a first-class cer­tifi­cate at the end of their school ca­reer?

While our re­sources have been plun­dered, those in the tri­par­tite al­liance who have sought self-en­rich­ment as their right, and have un­con­scionably pushed aside those they are meant to serve, are now be­gin­ning to reap what they have sown: many have with­drawn their loy­alty, and are seek­ing a new po­lit­i­cal home, where the needs of the peo­ple take prece­dence.

Loy­alty, like re­spect, must be earned, but the high­est value that can be placed on any man is in­tegrity. With­out in­tegrity a man is noth­ing, and can not de­mand loy­alty from even sub­servient cit­i­zens who have been used as pawns.

To ask th­ese peo­ple to vote for the ANC tri­par­tite al­liance at next year’s polls “as a debt of grat­i­tude” is an in­sult to what they have re­ceived. If bil­lions of rand had not been squan­dered on mis­gov­ern­ment, or mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion by min­is­ters or as­so­ci­ates, th­ese un­for­tu­nate cit­i­zens would all have had de­cent houses, san­i­ta­tion, well-equipped schools and hos­pi­tals and much else.

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