Are our opposition parties to focused on discrediting the ANC, and not on building their own identities?
I think we have some strong opposition parties going into the 2014 elections. The DA has been gaining ground lately and I think they're heading for a substantial increase in votes, a possible AGANG-led coalition could also take some votes and, unfortunately, Julius Malema's new party seems poised to take a piece of the pie as well. These three opposition parties all have one thing in common: they are thoroughly opposed to the ruling party, the African National Congress.
That's intuitive - they are the Opposition. However, when I scroll through some comments here on News24, I can't help but wonder if we are off to a bad start in what most are hoping will be a new era of South African politics, where after 2014 an ANC victory is not assured anymore. If people say that they welcome Malema's entry into politics simply because it's a vote away from the ANC, well... that's not democracy. If the ANC was to disappear now, what would we be left with?
Perhaps I'm pulling a bit too hard here - maybe for 2014 it will be fine for an Opposition party's biggest claim to be about how they are not the ANC, but certainly not in 2019. And also, you have to wonder how effective it is. Of course, opposing the current system is a big part of opposition politics, and it has secured a large chunk of votes so far, but the opposition has to really work to give some other reasons why people should vote for them, besides just hating on the ANC. Like policy, for example. The DA is currently leading the pack on their policies but Agang is catching up as well. Also, historical and cultural and personal sympathy. EFF have this one down, followed by Agang and the DA in distant third.
These secondary facets need to be emphasized more and more not only by our opposition party leaderships, but also by its parties. We need to have a balance, because I know that there are many people who love the ANC, but who can see it's not leading the country along the road to unleashing all our potential. But these people aren't just ready to vote for the next best thing - they want the full package, almost like a new ANC - with all the energy and promise of old, and brilliance to boot. It's only logic that a successful political party is one that the people can invest themselves in, and if the opposition's whole identity is to insult the ANC... well, people can't really invest their whole lives into bashing the ANC especially when most people still acknowledge the role the ANC played in the downfall of an oppressive system like Apartheid.
So to the opposition, keep up the good work (except you, Mr. Malema), but make sure you don't just become the anti-ANC. Give your own party an identity, build something that people want to be a part of, in spite of the ANC.
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