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Unearthing the landscape for our cultural future

23 November 2012, 19:26

We stand at a point where the course of the next chapter of our social development may prove to be significantly influenced.

As High Court applications are brought to compel our legislative body to debate the notion that our president is not fit to hold office on the last day of parliament, we creep nearer to the day in which the most likely candidate for our next president is to be decided.

As this fuss is going out, perhaps somewhat different, arguably only literally though, from practices in which George Bush had experienced nearly putting his foot in his mouth, where he was pelted with shoes, a similar motion was suggested to be brought to debate non-confidence in the premier of the Western Cape.

Had it been the deputy chief of the treasury of the Randfontein bowling club, some mockery may no doubt have ensued from commentators and opponents into the frivolity of such an idea, but had that been the case the deputy chief may have rightfully felt very honoured that he commanded so much confidence that it was worth being debated.

However, why should the ruling party feel so threatened that they need to single out a mere premier as the target of their counter-attack, in essence implying she needs to be judged on the same standards as the president in accountability to the country?

Perhaps a power shift is being sensed and a revolutionary offense is being employed to quash the rise.

If anything, however, it shows that our democracy is vibrant and dynamic, at times perhaps overzealously so, but sparks interesting discussion on what the most equitable and fertile political structure our future requires, to build the most rewarding social and cultural environment.

The ANC has had some severe challenges and their ability to govern the country effectively been drawn into serious question, and rightfully criticized during such turbulent times. But they still retain major support and remain to be seen the party to whom the poor can identify with, and, albeit perhaps ironically, attract loyalty because of their apparent profile of the conquerors from struggle to success, of which many feel they could benefit from by association.

In either event, the potential rise in threat from the opposition is a healthy development and good for the power balance. But in order to become truly competitive, and area in which the ruling party arguably preserves greater support, the issue of transformation and accordingly how that can be addressed more satisfactorily by another party in government needs to receive greater attention.

The DA has been called reluctant, one can say, to express a decisive view on race-based affirmative action (with leaders not having responded to an invitation to express their support thereof).

This issue, as well as land-redistribution, holds a paramount position of political conflict and accordingly partisan allegiance, and is important for many people to have decisive leadership expressed on to agree on how the country can move forward harmoniously with merit sanctified, and the integrity of equity promoted.

Race based affirmative action, however, is fundamentally flawed, despite it perhaps being the most superficially effective way of accelerating transformation.  The reason being because it does not create an incentive to alleviate poverty, it only rewards those of a certain race regardless of their financial position.  With those thus who already have power being most capable to take advantage of it, it intensifies the inability of those without it to obtain it, and those not part of the beneficiary race group and a further disadvantage. This then has a double barrel negation on the broader ideological motivation behind empowerment.

This however, needs to be balanced with the fact that people tend to associate in kind, and accordingly the natural inclination for those in power to beneficiate those with whom they associate more readily. As the proportional power dynamic remains in favour of those not benefiting from affirmative action, it would thus seem that empowerment based on race is the most realistic instrument to effect such redress. The only beneficiary however remains power itself, and not poverty.

It is these questions though that needs to be handled most astutely for a leadership culture to be created that sows least division, and reaps most proficient economic advancement.

Hopefully as our next political chapter unfolds, this is kept in mind by those navigating it, and by ourselves, at every opportunity, in empowering them to do so.

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