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Gideon van Zyl
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I am not irrelevant - just outvoted.

20 April 2014, 11:50

Well at last I am truly back home. 

I spent 10 years living in and outside South Africa and then another six living here but mostly working "overseas" in order to pay the rent. It is great to no longer have to travel the world for 9 months of a year and it is even better to be able to continue doing things I want to do and be in the place where I want to be.

One of the things I want to do is to actually do something about the general feeling of being gatvol about South African politics. I do not think that there is a home or a place for me in South African politics. That does not mean that I am unwelcome. My tax Rands ensure that I am loved by SARS,but as voter, I am irrelevant.

Being somebody who likes getting things done, that means that I have to look outside due process for a solution. Maybe I am an anarchist at heart, but let me explain.

I woke up one morning realizing that my vote doesn't count in democratic South Africa and will never count. Because I am a member of a minority. I am not a member of a minority because I am of European descent. I am a member of a minority because of money.

Together with many people of various political, religious, sexually, skin-shaded and cultural persuasions - I am a member of that vilest of vile creatures - the Middle-class. 

That immediately means that for my 1 vote, there will be 10 other people who will probably not share my problems and aspirations. Sadly, in a democracy, 10 to 1 will always win the vote, and if a party wants to be successful, they will have to go for the 10 and keep the 1 for financing. And that is how the government and any political party in the future will roll.

In essence, the 1 vote represents the vilified. The people who are successfully upwardly (or downwardly) mobile and supports the heart of the economy.

The State in South Africa runs on the money that 12% of the people earn and funds the great things it does for the 88% with that. They build houses, electrify those areas left behind, build roads, build schools, train teachers for the 10:1, and that is great, because it has to be done. It is even noble. The 10 will vote for policies that will enable them to do what they want. Primary requirements.

There is a darker side to that, in that sometimes the 10 will also want more of what the 1 has, and we have seen the recent spate of populists who are appealing to the 10’s sense of need to feed their own desire. They are basically saying “Screw the 1. If I can just take what the 1 has, the 10 will be placated, and I will have my turn at being in power.” Because getting the vote of the 10 gives the power.

That is - from a subjective perspective - where the proverbial excrement hits the fan. I am the 1 vote against the 10. And I actually really care for their wellbeing, but as somebody who has built a bit of business acumen over many years, I have an instinct when I am being screwed, and what is happening is actually really raising the “being screwed” alerts big-time.

I live in a middle-class suburb in Kempton Park in a sub-million Rand house that I am paying every month to a bank that has repossessed the houses of several people in my suburb who lost their jobs and their livelihoods in recent months. My son goes to a state school, where I contribute additional on a monthly basis so that my son can get as good an education as I can afford.

I replace my primary transport every 4 years at about 100 000 km because it devaluates rapidly after that and if I wait too long to replace it I will not be able to make a deposit for the next reliable transport.

My wife used to be a school teacher, but after returning to South Africa, was not able to get a job as a teacher and so started giving private art tuition. So for all practical purposes we are a single income household.

My eldest son has completed two diplomas and a degree which I paid for without any assistance from the state in the hope that he will be able to qualify to such a level that he will be able to find a job in spite of state policies. He has not been successful yet.

My house is secured with the standard suburban 8 ft palisade fence and I have installed a multizone alarm and a CCTV system. Every morning I check if there are no hijackers lurking close to my gate before I leave home and I wake up regularly at night to noises and sounds and study the CCTV footage to look for crooks.

I pay heavy insurances on my cars and house and must have an alarm system active when out of the house or the insurance will not pay for break-ins. I have Reaction-force subscription with panic buttons and all. I must have a tracking system installed in my car or the insurance will not pay out if my car gets hijacked or nabbed. So over and above my insurance, I have a fee that I must pay to a tracking company for my vehicles.

I get on the road to customers every morning and get grumpy while riding past unkept parks and drive over roads full of pot-holes past heaps of rubbish. I get gatvol because of outages at traffic lights or traffic jams caused by accidents.

I get frustrated and angry at how road-users play with their and other people’s lives by ignoring traffic rules. I regularly see how the very people who should uphold the law, break it on the road by driving on the shoulder of the road, jumping traffic lights, and have been the target of a demand for a bribe by a traffic official.

I am paying for Municipal services I am not receiving. I am paying for safety services I am not receiving. I am paying for road-safety and maintenance, and then get to pay again through tolls and bribes. I am overpaying for electricity so that others can have electricity.

I am paying my money to provide those services to other while I am being neglected.

I am a middle-class South African trying to make a living. I am democratically out-voted, politically out-maneuvered and financially the milking-cow of the state.

But I am no longer going to take this. I am going to do something. Not politically since that is wasting my breath and time, and as we have already determined that my 1 to 10 vote is simply not sufficient enough to really make any difference.

So Dear fellow member of the 1 vote to 10. We have resources, we have plans, we have training, we have education. I would love to see the 1:10 turn to 1:1, but that will take time, and I honestly don't have the patience for that any more after 20 years of waiting for politics to provide solutions.  

I would like to find out what you think we can do. Whiners, haters, nay-sayers and political lackeys do not need to reply.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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