During the course of 2013 I spent time researching the unpleasant subject of politics. What I came up with can either turn out to be disturbing, or positive. Research included past political events in Africa, South Africa and the rest of the world, bringing it up to date with recent events.
First the bad news. Things will get progressively worse. It is due to a phenomenon not confined to South African politics, but indicative of global events which, for now, favour the élite status quo .
In the West, mainly due to a slick election campaign, American president Barack Obama won re-election. He was not, however, re-elected due to his good performance in office, but due to growing fears and uncertainties among those who voted about what the future may hold for them.
In the East, Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, was returned to that country’s highest office under the guise of democratic elections. Most people there who did vote, voted more out of fear and uncertainty than anything else.
Most people who have, up to now, participated in elections still believe that they have something to gain.
Believe, there’s the rub. Obama used it well in his first election campaign. It worked.
Mmusi Maimane, the Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng Provincial leader is gambling on that mantra for now. What he has, up to now, failed to take into account, is not that province’s festering hatred of the country’s state president, Jacob Zuma, but the leadership choices they have started to make. And it is not all swinging Maimane’s way. For one thing, and for far too long, politicians have it very wrong when assuming the ignorance of their potential supporters.
While the majority may not have had the opportunity to acquire a decent education, they are not stupid. The DA – this country’s official opposition, for now – continuously wonders aloud why support for the ruling African National Congress continues when their performance in government continues to decline along the growing rot and smell of patronage and corruption. As an official opposition party, and ruling party in the Western Cape Province, a holier than thou attitude of good, clean governance prevails.
But while the DA’s track record is significantly and statistically far better than that of the ANC on all levels of government, from municipalities to the highest office, it has its own failures and short-comings, something which its leader, Helen Zille will fully acknowledge.
Where it has indeed succeeded, though, is on the leadership front, say what you will. The pragmatic choice of former Pan Africanist Congress firebrand, Patricia de Lille as Cape Town city mayor has so far been a coup, but on the level ground of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, it is not accepted.
The provincial leader of the ANC in the WC, Marius Fransman, has exploited this as far as he is able to. But he knows full well that it will be a hard task for his party to recapture the governance of the province which it had previously not ruled well. Blaming racism for current disparities between the have’s and have-nots, is an exploitative tool that can work, but will not be effective enough to sway the majority of this province’s electorate.
One leader who is much admired today in spite of a résumé bereft of achievements and accomplishments on levels of delivery and governance, and in spite of blatant racist tactics (which have, up to now, shown signs of effectiveness) is Julius Malema, the commander in chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters which bases its election and political manifesto on that of long-serving Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF and that of the late revolutionary Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez.
Amongst the have’s, from the privileged to those who have ‘secure’ jobs, to those political analysts who share a common view of the status quo, to those who are aligned in and with government and by dint, the ANC, an air of complacency prevails.
Rather than labelling Julius Malema a dangerous man, whichever side of the Gini coefficient you may fall, complacency is the biggest danger facing the South African electorate.
What has also yet to run its course after nearly 20 years of democracy is that evil legacy of apartheid. As all the main political players know full well is that the black majority, from all walks of life, still do not trust the white minority. And who can blame them? The recent events surrounding a courageous white Afrikaner joining Malema’s EFF is a significant case in point which I do not need to elaborate on.
While political parties rant and rave filthily for support, Malema has remained resiliently silent for now.
The country’s president, Jacob Zuma, has become famous, world-wide, for all the wrong reasons. Lack of leadership and statesmanship, allegations of rampant corruption and crass prejudice. But one quote the people of South Africa should be mindful of is Zuma’s (previously) glowing affirmation of Julius Malema that he will be the future leader of the ANC (by that, read; the country).
And what of the good news?
Govan Mbeki, younger brother to former state president, Thabo, put it well when asked by ENCA analyst, Justice Malala a week or so ago whether the ANC will still be ruling the country “in ten years time” (in which time another election would have passed, or not).
“No, in ten years time, the ANC will not be in power.”
Based on my research of current polls and statements made by a number of political analysts, I give my first monthly forecast of how the election results will pan out;
African National Congress: 58%
Democratic Alliance: 22%
Economic Freedom Fighers: 9%
Agang SA : 3%
The minority alliance (Congress of the People, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party, Freedom Front Plus) : 2%
Balance/Undecided : 5%
You are welcome to disagree. But should you do so, please leave a comment.