We endorse you and your right to vote

2014-05-04 15:00

This is not a cop-out. City Press believes the era of political endorsements by the media is passé. We no longer live in a world where newspapers can dictate political choices.

We are no longer oracles, but platforms for debate, often of values and direction. Such democratic platforms have been flattened by the speed of social media and the rapid uptake of smartphones, where everybody creates and shares their own content all the time. So after a tough election campaign, our only message is this: Go vote.

Our ballot is precious and it is hard won. Already, 11?million people have decided not to register to vote, either a sign that party and parliamentary politics has normalised by bottoming out or, more worryingly, people have lost trust in the system of electoral politics.

Chances are there are no longer easy choices to be made based on history, identity or interest. Here are some elements we believe are important:

Vote for jobs

Either way, we believe more thought and concern must go into understanding why 11?million people didn’t register. It symbolises disenchantment with the new democracy and it is a generational problem.

Most of the people who have not registered are young. And most of them are unemployed. Youth unemployment is rampant – numbering 3?million young people, most of whom don’t have work experience.

They have bowed out of political life, believing there is no way into the new South African society. Vote for them when you make that cross on Wednesday.

Research shows there is no way into the economy if you don’t work for the first 10 years of your economically active life. Vote against those who lock the young out of the labour market.

Vote against corruption

Corruption harms systems and institutions, retarding young democracies and turning back the clock on development. Our investigation into the sale of teaching posts by union mafiosos should make you see red, for we are once again consigning poor black kids to an inferior education.

Vote against a society run by cronies who keep resources locked up for them and their families. Vote against leaders who can’t tell the difference between public funds and private ones. Vote against tenderpreneurs.

Vote for equity

The next phase of freedom must pay close attention to the detail of equity, be it in employment, ownership or entrepreneurship. There can be no ifs and buts about the need for employment equity, greater black ownership in the economy and the need to grow a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Beware the peddlers of cheap solutions that cannot be met, except by bankrupting the state. Equity is a share, a say, a voice. It is not easy or cheap or simple and it isn’t a slogan. Beware of slogans like “nationalise now”. Our state has neither the skills nor the acumen to pull it off.

Vote for land

But take a hard look and ask what land is? Is land a title deed, or is it a property to call your own? In Gauteng, what is land? Take a look at what has become of land redistributed by reform or restitution. Is it working? Has it transformed the life of the next generation?

Vote for institutions

Good societies are not built by politicians; they are held together by strong institutions. Vote for parties that will allow institutions to do their work without fear, favour or prejudice.

We need a strong Public Protector, a functioning National Prosecuting Authority operating within a well-oiled criminal justice system, unhindered courts and a proper public broadcaster. Vote for the party that will guarantee their independence.

Vote for you

City Press has an interesting election education game on its website, which asks you to make choices based on policies. It is turning up interesting results where those of us who play it find ourselves choosing parties far from our scope of what we thought were our political beliefs.

It’s a game, but it does show that perhaps it is time for each of us to think anew of the values we hold dear, for today and tomorrow. Ultimately, our message is this: Go vote. For yourself and for the next generation.

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