We are being taken for granted

2007-12-12 00:00

I am not all that interested in politics, but I have come to realise that whether I like it or not, I am directly affected by what is currently crippling the leadership structure of the African National Congress.

I have never really been impressed with our ex-deputy president Jacob Zuma. Maybe this is because a prominent member of Parliament should know more about condoms and the dangers of HIV/Aids.

I understand the uneasiness and anxiety most affluent people seem to feel — why they cringe at the very thought of this man being the next president of South Africa, and the recent preliminary ANC polls have started turning this fear into something of a reality for most of us.

Even the ANC Women’s League surprised many by endorsing the same man they vehemently seemed to loath a few months ago. If Zuma does become president, I am afraid our country will end up being the brunt of many jokes by the international community. After being embarrassed by Dr Beetroot and Thabo Mbeki’s controversial views on HIV/Aids, this is the last thing we need.

Something is bugging me about the ANC succession battle. Is it just me or are democratic governments not meant to be “by the people and for the people”? Where are the people in all this?

Is this battle in any way about how it will benefit me as a future voter? Do the privileged few who do happen to have a voice ever consider what the average person feels about all this? This is a debate that can go on forever and remain unresolved.

I think it is high time we realise the role that we as citizens of this country play and that we do have a say in all this. I am not proposing anything radical, but I just feel that our politicians have started taking us for granted.

Only during their presidential campaigns do they bother to engage with us, making promises that they will eventually make excuses for not achieving once we have given them our vote.

A lot of black South Africans have very few options available. Do I continue to vote for a party I used to believe in even though they no longer seem to serve me? Or do I just sit back, don’t even bother to vote so that they can finally realise how important we are to them.

That is not probable, but it is clear something will have to radically change within the ANC sooner or later for its reputation to improve. That is why a candidate such as Cyril Ramaphosa is starting to make sense to a lot of us who care about the future of the ANC.

What we need to try to remember though, is that Zuma is a traditional unionist. Most people who are poor and unemployed see salvation in him taking over the reins of this country.

Even the South African Communist Party and Cosatu feel that he might strengthen the weakening Tripartite Alliance. All these people believe and have faith that he will reduce unemployment and improve economic growth. Whether he will actually be able to achieve these remains to be seen.

In the meantime, all we can do is hope. Hope for a sense of direction and rational thinking on our behalf by the ANC leaders.

— News24.

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