THE VOT­ING CO­NUN­DRUM

Financial Mail - - BETWEEN THE CHAINS - @Sikonathim [email protected] by Sikonathi Mantshantsha

In about 25 weeks, all cit­i­zens will have to make a choice about who should gov­ern the af­fairs of our na­tion for the next five years. This is a rit­ual in which I have par­tic­i­pated with re­li­gious reg­u­lar­ity since I came of vot­ing age. It has al­ways been easy to make a de­ci­sion about who to vote for. In that time, I have voted for three po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

But choos­ing who to vote for has never been as dif­fi­cult as it is to­day. While all sorts of par­ties are punt­ing them­selves as the best choice, find­ing lead­ers and poli­cies wor­thy of my vote has never been this tough.

Let’s start with what would seem to be the nat­u­ral home of my vote — the ANC. This party has, on pa­per, the best poli­cies to ad­vance SA. The Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan is a good but im­per­fect start. Many of the gov­ern­ment poli­cies that have been de­vel­oped over the past 25 years have had a pos­i­tive net ef­fect on the lives of the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity. The most im­por­tant of these is the so­cial se­cu­rity net­work that takes care of the ba­sic needs of so­ci­ety’s weak­est.

Hav­ing grown up in a poor house­hold in the years pre­ced­ing democ­racy and the ANC’S so­cial se­cu­rity in­ter­ven­tions, the dif­fer­ence is un­mis­tak­able. Just one ex­am­ple: this col­umn is be­ing typed in the home­stead of my youth, on a cell­phone un­der a bright elec­tri­cal light in­stead of the paraf­fin lamps (called ufinya­futhi) my grand­mother and I re­lied on back then. These hand­made in­stru­ments, fash­ioned out of an old tin and piece of twine, emit­ted more smoke than light. My chil­dren don’t even know what finya­futhi looks like. Nei­ther are the chil­dren of my un­em­ployed neigh­bours as hun­gry as we were.

At the pro­fes­sional level, gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion has forced the pri­vate sec­tor to open op­por­tu­ni­ties to black peo­ple, which has ex­panded the black mid­dle class. The econ­omy has broad­ened enor­mously over the past 24 years of democ­racy and the tax base has widened, yield­ing more money to spend on ed­u­ca­tion and other so­cial goods.

Tak­ing these pos­i­tive strides into con­sid­er­a­tion, over­all the ANC would be the most de­serv­ing of my vote, par­tic­u­larly un­der Cyril Ramaphosa. But my whole be­ing rebels at the thought that it would be a vote for Batha­bile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gi­gaba, Mosebenzi Zwane and the peo­ple who looted Pet­rosa, Eskom and SAA.

Next can­di­date for my vote is the DA, whose elec­toral for­tunes have been boosted by the ANC’S in­ef­fi­ciency and cor­rup­tion un­der Ja­cob Zuma. But the DA seems hell­bent on de­stroy­ing it­self. The com­bi­na­tion of its muddy stance on key poli­cies, such as BEE and land re­form, to­gether with its treat­ment of black lead­ers like Lindiwe Maz­ibuko and Pa­tri­cia de Lille, makes one won­der if it can ever truly be a ve­hi­cle to ad­vance the as­pi­ra­tions of the pa­tri­otic black mid­dle class. Cou­pled with the naked am­bi­tion of peo­ple like Natasha Maz­zone, and the hol­low but preachy lead­er­ship of Mmusi Maimane, the party is no longer wor­thy of my vote.

Not the gum­boots, please

I have not for a sec­ond con­tem­plated giv­ing my vote to the thugs who wear gum­boots and over­alls in par­lia­ment. They have re­duced a key in­sti­tu­tion of our democ­racy to a source of em­bar­rass­ment. The cor­rup­tion of the ANC un­der Zuma would be like a prac­tice for the real deal — just much big­ger, more crass and more brazen. Ask the Lim­popo mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that did busi­ness with On-point En­gi­neer­ing.

Who else? The less said about Cope the bet­ter, and the IFP serves no pur­pose in par­lia­ment other than earn­ing salaries for the can­tan­ker­ous chief and his shrink­ing impi.

Bantu Holomisa is a good man, and has served the peo­ple with hon­our and ded­i­ca­tion. Ideally you should al­ways have him on your side. But there is no dif­fer­ence be­tween Holomisa and the UDM, and with­out Holomisa there is no UDM. The UDM lacks both plan and strat­egy.

En­ter Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng and his Con­tent party. Thieves and nar­cis­sists would feel at home here. Mot­soe­neng’s party and the EFF should merge — they could call it The Grand Coali­tion for The Ad­vance­ment of The Loo­tists. Gi­gaba could be asked to lead the coali­tion while Mot­soe­neng is un­der­go­ing a psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion. A loota!

I re­volt at the thought that a vote for the ANC would be a vote for Gi­gaba, Zwane and those who looted Eskom and SAA

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