Perspective is everything, even more so when it involves the future of a country. South Africa’s 2014 election has been a humdinger of disappointment and victory, predictability and surprise.
DA followers are loud-hailing their party’s gain of a million more voters. However, when that number cropped up regards the EFF, the ANC’s, Malusi Gigaba, criticised with, “They need to stop being sour losers and accept they only have one million voters and they have lost.”
Politicians will sometimes spin in favour of their ego which may not necessarily have relevance to their initial goals or the direction the country is taking. Here, there are winners and losers, of both intention and result.
For the ANC, as the victor with a massive 62.2% of the vote, there will be relief that they have defended their scandal-besieged position which, if we’re honest, would have collapsed most governments in the West. Africa, as it so often does, plays by different rules. Although the opposition intentionally ignores the ANC’s successes (life has improved for millions), it’s unlikely that the ANC won on merit for their house building or job provision skills. And none can honestly say that they’ve successfully promoted racial unity as it’s not only increasingly difficult to find a White member but their support amongst Coloureds and Indians has dwindled too. Essentially, most disturbingly, the majority of South Africans have chosen culture over failure, seemingly granting the ANC permission to Nkandla, Gupta and Marikana them into social and financial submission. It’s beyond moral logic that the ANC only lost 3.8% of it’s support since the 2009 election. Minimising that loss is, in itself, one of the ANC’s greatest victories for itself.
So where did that vote the ANC lost go?
Everyone wants to claim that victory against the ANC but the figures don’t add up to be true to the whole story.
Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, claimed yesterday that 700 000 of the 1.1 million voters her party gained were black. And that 20% of the DA is now non-white. How she knows that is unknown to this blogger but it is true that the DA is more colourful than the other major parties. Converse to giving the DA credit is asking if that’s enough considering that white people make up only 8.9% of South Africa’s population, a demographic that has more than halved the past half century? The answer they’re likely to counter with is that it’s better than the ANC or the EFF’s version. It definitely is but at what cost?
Ironically, to make the DA darker, Helen Zille chucked her liberalism out the window, forgot her long-time party faithful who got her to where she is, and threw her support in for affirmative action and black economic empowerment. Not choosing the best man or woman for the job is considered by some to be reverse racism. And installing such practices within the party has caused dissension by those who’ve suddenly found themselves dropped down the party list as new, “more rainbow” members are rapidly escalated. The majority of the leadership of the the DA remains white but you’re led to think the opposite when looking at DA posters. The DA increased at the polls. Propaganda works.
Helen Zille on AGANG (as reported on Al Jazeera): “I offered Mamphela Ramphele the world, she wanted the universe… and now she has ended up with a shack in Pofadder.”
The DAgang debacle would have dropped a lesser-skilled politician. Instead, Helen Zille used her media clout to ram home, however unfair, that it was all Mamphela Ramphele’s fault. Zille won that battle and AGANG is now an embarrassing footnote too weak to survive as a stain on South Africa’s political history.
Then there’s the seemingly invincible Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the ANC’s stain that won’t go away…
Read Part 2 of ‘We Are All Losers: The Truth About South Africa’s 2014 Elections’where the EFF's remarkable gains and the death of small parties are discussed.