I posted a picture on Facebook showing President Zuma’s R200 million compound versus the living conditions of his voters. During a smoke break with a couple of colleagues, one colleague who saw the post came to me and said “It was a sad picture you posted hey? Really, it was.”
“Yes,” I said, “I agree. That is why I posted it. I never used to get political but now with the ridiculous state of affairs in SA I will post such things.”
Then my colleague said something that floored me. She said: “The saddest part is I will still vote for the ANC. I won’t vote for a white party. I won’t go back there.” And a couple of other colleagues agreed.
Yes, I can understand that sentiment – through empathy, not experience, I admit. But that kind of attitude isn't going to help the country is it? Perhaps this is our biggest challenge to actually fixing the country.
What floored me even more is that the discussion then moved to all the recent and current debacles; the text book saga, the state of education and public hospitals, the state of municipalities, the very real difficulties that face people on a daily basis in townships just to get their basic needs met, and so on. Throughout the conversation there was much tut-tutting, sighing and mutterings of “it’s sad…”, and one person even went so far as to say “yes, the ANC has failed us…” yet it was clear to see that in the face of acknowledging that the ANC has failed the very people it freed, people will rather accept the country the way it is than change parties. Yes, they will lament the future of the country but so something about it now? Nope.
My closing remark as I left the conversation was “Well then one must just accept it, yes?”, because that is exactly what that whole conversation boiled down to – a sense of “I would rather see my fellow citizens suffer horrendously and risk the future of the country for my children than vote for the DA.” This obviously means that in popular perception there are just two main parties that can impact the country – the DA and the ANC.
I know that I don’t have the emotional understanding of the impact of apartheid on non-whites. And maybe that lack of emotional understanding is skewing my perception of the situation as it is. But my questions to everyone who reads this are “When is it enough?” “Is the answer to SA’s problem just continuing to vote for a failing government while blindly hoping that something will change?” “If the solution is not the DA and not the ANC then what is it?”
I am all for blind faith but the risks in this case are just too big, and the progression of destruction speeding up. We risk the devastation of a rich and awesome country. Now that saddens me.