We should all be voting for president

2007-12-06 00:00

There are hundreds of thousands, if not several million, South African women who are angry at the African National Congress Women’s League’s betrayal of the cause by refusing to put forward a woman candidate for the ANC presidential election and instead proposing a man with archaic sexist views.

Many South Africans are frustrated that talented leaders such as Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Joel Netshitenze, Cyril Rama-phosa, Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale are not even in the race for the two positions that will most likely determine who our next president and deputy president will be.

I am one of those citizens who is annoyed that the ANC’s broedertwis has determined that there should be a showdown between Zuma and Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane.

Mbeki cannot be president after the next election. His campaign is solely aimed at thwarting Zuma. Many ANC branch members only voted for Zuma because they want to make it clear that they want no more of Mbeki. If it were Ramaphosa or Sexwale standing against Zuma, perhaps these people would have voted for them instead.

To all these angry, frustrated and annoyed citizens inside and outside the ANC I say, let’s start campaigning for a new system in which we can all vote for the president, not only for members of Parliament. The ANC can choose their own leader, but in a system with such a strong presidency, all voters should have a say in who should be the president of the country.

We can have this vote on the same day as a general election to save money, but the presidential candidates will have to stand as individuals rather than as party representatives, otherwise we would simply have the same farce inside the biggest party.

So instead of a few thousand of the party faithful deciding in Polokwane who our next head of state should be, we would all be voting. If we had such a system now, the candidates would probably have been Zuma, Helen Zille, Ramaphosa, Patricia de Lille, Sexwale and Netshitenze. And even if you are a staunch Democratic Alliance or Independent Democrats supporter, if you believe that your vote would be wasted on your candidate you could decide to vote for one of the ANC-aligned candidates instead.

This system would allow us to bring back a bit of fun into our politics. If it was made clear that anybody could stand for president, we would surely have some celebrities with huge egos enter the race. I’m thinking Zola 7 and Steve Hofmeyr. I would have liked to add Evita Bezuidenhout’s name to the list. And perhaps Jon Qwelane’s, not because he’s a politician, but because I want to suck up to him — he’s an old broer of mine and now I’ve pissed him off by writing that Zuma has archaic and sexist views on women.

While we’re changing the electoral system, I think we should also bring in a new constituency system in which there is a local member of Parliament to whom you can go when you have gripes or problems. As long as members of Parliament are determined by the party hierarchies, we will never have proper accountability.

And while we’re changing that, can we now finally scrap the disgusting floor-crossing custom please? — News24.

• Max du Preez is the former editor of Vrye Weekblad and executive producer of the television programmes Special Report on the TRC and Special Assignment.

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