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Anil Sumaraj
 
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Elections, Lets have NOTA

27 February 2014, 18:00

Democracy means that elections are about to happen again. I am amazed as to what the President thinks is democracy. He recently (during his reply to the State of the Nation address) went on to lecture the opposition that only Blacks, Coloureds and Indians know what apartheid was all about and that sometimes he felt that the opposition was from another planet. As a South African of Indian origin I would like to inform the President that I also know what humility is, and that forgiveness means not unnecessarily trying to remember the past with an accusatory finger to the current generation. That we cannot build a country of ONE when we canvas talking about  the Boers taking over if the ANC is not brought back for another 5 years!

We are not the only democracy where a minority ruled over the majority. India had 20 000 Englishmen try and rule over 800 000 Indians, and treat them as slaves in their own country. Yet, after achieving home rule, the Indians never chastised the English. They never changed the names of Victoria Station and Connaught Place amongst others. Instead they decided to appreciate the form of democracy that the English had introduced them to.  Heroes such as Mohandas Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Bhagat Singh were and are respected in India without forgetting the true heritage of the country. General Dyer who was responsible for the massacres in Amritsar and Kolkata, whose statue was placed by the British in Kolkata, was left in place. However in the history books his actions are clearly known. Can we consider that type of reconciliation and forgiveness?

Coincidentally both India and South Africa have elections in May this year. I note with amazement the difference and similarities between electioneering in the two countries. In India the Indian National Congress (INC) accuses the principle opposition party The Bharatiya Janata Party of communalism. The INC which has been in power for the last in 10 years have been involved in many scams and corruption. The BJP is talking development, economic growth, outgrowing China in terms of science and technology as well as a permanent peace with Pakistan. The INC on the other hand is wooing minority voters by using the scare tactics that Muslims, Dalits, Christians etc. will suffer if they are not back in power.  Sound familiar?

I strongly suggest that all our politicians go to political school to understand what the real bread and butter issues are. That we stop defending our failures due to apartheid. (After all 20 years have passed). If we decide to attribute our failures to apartheid then some people would like to attribute our successes to apartheid as well? 

We should all try to follow the electoral code of conduct. This is true especially for our politicians. Also, why do we need International observers? This is an insult to the people of South Africa, unless we are saying that as the majority is black, we need international observers. I say this because, the English never sent observers to India, also, the concept is foreign to Europe, Canada, USA, South America etc, as far as I know it only exists in Africa.

We need to develop as a nation of thinkers, and then we will have a successful, prosperous country, else, we will become another mediocre country like Sri Lanka. We need to increase the level of mathematics at school to equal that of China and India, rid of Mathematics Literacy and make English compulsory for all school going children, with an additional language of choice. Transform our Outcome Based Education to equal that of the UK. The English are the pioneers of OBE. Which political party can do the above or some of the above without talking about RACE?

 All our politicians need to grow up. The recent marriage, then divorce of Zille and Mamphele is embarrassing to all South Africans. The EFF wants to give everyone everything, and eventually we will all have nothing. The Freedom Front should realize you do not need a law for your language and culture to prosper. The Jewish, Hindu and Muslim faiths prospered even during apartheid. It is the determination of the people that is needed. The African Christian Democratic Party should realize that non-Christians are also democratic, and that you cannot have laws that is supportive of only one religious group. The ANC will keep the race card alive for as long as possible because it seems for now it has no real plan for the future.

Who are you voting for? I suggest that we also have the NOTA (None of the above) on the election paper, where, like Argentina and India, people can choose by choosing no one, and if it is greater than a certain percentage (the norm is 10- 15%) then elections are held again. The difference being that the political parties will then be forced to change.

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