Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Desperation sets in...
The DA has taken legal action against the ANC in Mpumalanga for allegedly distributing fake DA pamphlets which in essence warn of the 'return of the Swart Gevaar'. The ANC has followed an incredibly successful strategy over the past five years of type-casting the DA as a racist party representing the white elite, so this allegation does have some traction.

Very similar allegations and legal action was taken in Southern US states during the recent US Presidential elections, where the Democrats accused the Republicans of using identical such methods. In South Africa though, if these were borne out as being legitimate allegations, this would reflect an ANC increasingly desperate to retain votes in an intensely bitter election campaign.

The ANC however, has much experience in dealing politically with the DA. The more interesting developments to watch will be the ANC campaign strategy against COPE. Up until present, the ANC's approach has been a mixture of animal metaphors, personal slurs and their denigration as an "angry washed-up elite". The elevation of COPE presidential candidate, Mvume Dandala, may well give them some more ammunition, given his relative obscurity in South African politics. I would imagine that Dandala will have a tough time fighting his corner in the coming two months.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Your country needs you!
When South Africa goes to the polls in the general election on April 22nd, it will be one of the most interesting days in South Africa's political history. In undoubtedly the most highly contested election since '94, the stakes are markedly high, and the election will give a hugely important signal into the next two decades of socio-economic governance.

The electorate of South Africa has the opportunity to be heard, either to support the current path of the country, or to change it. None of this can happen without your vote, and as a nation, we need to attach much greater significance to our individual ballot. Huge tracts of our population suffered greatly to allow you to cast your vote in a free society, and that demands greater respect. As Plato said, the price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. So, if you're concerned about the current leadership of the country, then step out of your apathy. If you're happy with it, your franchise is equally as important.

So get involved. But, more importantly, get armed with knowledge to make an educated vote. Take an interest in political parties, which could potentially be your new guardians. Read the major parties' 2009 election manifestos here:

The ANC 2009 Manifesto
The COPE 2009 Manifesto
The DA 2009 Manifesto
The IFP 2009 Manifesto

Let no-one complain about the state of the nation, if he or she has not cast his or her vote to have a say in the future. I share less of the worries of many of my peers around the incumbent ANC governance, but I carry much greater concern for the apathetic attitude that is encroaching our electorate.

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush," said Robert M. Hutchins, "it will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."