PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Scooterza
 
Comments: 3
Article views: 463
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Scooterza's badges.
 

The fat lady has sung...as she did in 1981.

12 May 2014, 20:45

So the elections are done and the dust is settling.  All the analyses are flooding in.  There seem to be some saying that the ANC did get a bit of a slap losing several percentage points in both the national and the provincial votes.  

Equally there are many (including Mamphele Ramphele) who are dismayed that despite the litany of crises and scandals that have plagued the ruling party in ever growing frequency over the past 5 years, the ANC remains overwhelmingly the party of choice for most South Africans.  In some quarters there are racial undertones suggesting that the ANC’s support is largely ignorant black people who don’t know any better.  

I was born in 1975, but a comment made by my mother lead me to read up on a scandal that took place in 1978 that I was only vaguely aware of - The Muldergate Scandal.

Back in the early ‘70’s, the government of the day was increasingly paranoid about rising international and national disapproval of the apartheid government and had set up the Department of Information to use propaganda to counter this.  The department, headed by Eschel Rhoodie but with approval of many senior government officials, was allocated a sizeable slush fund that was diverted from the defence budget.  

Rhoodie used Louis Luyt as a front to try to buy the Rand Daily Mail - an English newspaper that was highly critical of the apartheid government.  When this failed, Louis Luyt created a new newspaper - “The Citizen”.  There was even an attempt to buy an American Newspaper - “The Washington Star” - to influence American opinion and to undermine American politicians critical of South African policies.

To cut a long story short, this whole debacle ended up costing a fortune and blew up in the government’s face, resulting in several senior ministers losing their posts and Prime Minister BJ Vorster being forced to resign.  

The point of this relates back to the comment I mentioned earlier. My mother said she remembers that there was great hope amongst those who opposed the National Party (NP) that this was going push voters to make a change.  They expected a new era and that the NP would lose ground hugely at the subsequent polls.

 This was a time when support was split more along cultural lines as only whites were permitted to vote.  In broad terms, Afrikaners supported the NP and English speakers supported the Progressive Federal Party (PFP).  

Three years after the Muldergate scandal broke, the NP was returned to power with a relatively small drop in support levels.  In 1977, the NP had 64.8% and the PFP had 16.7% of the vote.  In 1981, the NP won 56.96% and the PFP had 19.44%.  

The Herstigte Nationale Party (HNP) was the party that made inroads into the NP support base.  Afrikaners found it hard to support the “rooinekke” of the PFP and those that couldn't support the NP changed to the HNP rather than the PFP.  

There are distinct echos here - the ruling party with overwhelming support is rocked by scandals but goes to the polls and is returned to power with an overwhelming majority because there were no great alternatives that were palatable.  

There are even echos in terms of the apartheid government’s anger and fear of the press’ so called “hate South Africa crusade” which sounds just like the ANC’s rhetoric of the past few years.  

There are several important lessons that we can take from this.  Firstly, a free press is a vital if you are to keep the government honest and by extension, any attempt to muzzle the press should be seen as an action with distasteful motives.  

Thus whether you support the ANC or the FF or any other party, a patriotic South African will oppose the Protection of State Information Bill.  It can only lead to more secrecy and cover ups.    

The second is that people (white or black, English, Afrikaans or Xhosa etc) don’t easily change their vote, particularly when the “brand” they support is so very strong.  

In the 1970’s white South Africans picked the devil they knew (NP) or at least a devil with a similar background (HNP).  If we want a balance of power, we need strong “black” alternatives to the ANC to arise.  People still struggle to see beyond the colour bar and voting IS along colour lines.  

Any political party that ignores this reality will struggle.

I think the DA has done very well (particularly when you remember how people won’t change allegiance easily) but unless the DA manages to change the impression in people’s minds that they are predominantly a white party, they will continue to struggle to get grassroots support like the ANC does.

 I wonder whether they shouldn’t consider renaming themselves when they appoint their first black party leader (which must happen soon) so they start with a “clean slate”.


The EFF’s strong showing underscores that many voters are looking for alternatives.  Their policies make little sense and their leader has a dubious track record; yet as a black party with a high profile, they did get a lot of support.  

There are many ANC supporters that are somewhat unsettled but not enough to vote for “that white party” nor for the more radically left wing EFF.  COPE had a golden opportunity but blew it with unseemly squabbling.

So due to a dearth of alternatives, the ANC is back for 5 more years.  We can only hope that the ANC corrects their trajectory and gets back to their principles.  If they don’t and a viable, honest black alternative appears, they will find that even loyal supporters will only take so much.  

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.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
The Fox 5366
You're not alone

Welcome to the 21st Century, where we live in possibly more uncertain times than ever before in the history of the world ... although nobody can say for sure.  Read more...

13 comments 358 views
Submitted by
Steven Marshal
Freedom of speech?

I've noticed that some columnists articles don't allow one to make a comment or engage into a debate about said article. Read more...

14 comments 206 views
Submitted by
Lerato Monethi
DA-led motion against NA Speaker ...

The motion of no confidence on Baleka Mbete submitted by the DA to the House on behalf of five opposition parties, accentuates their duplicitous stance to the political landscape.  Read more...

12 comments 696 views
Submitted by
Legens Monspubis
The prophet

The unfortunate incident in Lagos is the ideal opportunity for prophet Josua to show the whole wide world that he is not a charlatan and a fraud. Read more...

30 comments 1430 views
Submitted by
Thami Makhanya
"Desperate Alliance" has turned P...

Gone are those days when Parliament used to be a place where democratically elected leaders were elected to draft and pass legislation to the needs of society.  Read more...

16 comments 660 views
Submitted by
Johnny McIntyre
Problems with the Medical Innovat...

Parliament is finally taking a look at the Medical Innovation Bill. It was introduced by Mr Oriani-Ambrosini to serve as a catalyst for more meaningful discussions about cannabis at a national level. Read more...

0 comments 211 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Accountants Assistant

Noordhoek - Kommetjie
Cozens Recruitment Group ( Western Cape)
R10 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Junior Data Reporting Analyst

Cape Town
Summer Mobile (Pty) Ltd

Senior Architect

Western Cape
Higher Intelligence

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.