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When desperation to be heard defeats logic

21 April 2014, 22:15

A long time ago, when I was still a teenager, I came across the story of a young man who desperately wanted to have a love relationship with a particular girl. Despite his numerous attempts, including buying her luxuries and taking her out to plush places, the girl seemed uninterested. It is said that the boy even begged the parents of the girl to intervene, to no apparent avail.

Out of sheer desperation, the boy drank an overdose of medication, and left a small note where he explained his intention to die. In the letter he said he was committing suicide because that particular girl was refusing his proposal to have a love relationship. He further blamed the girl’s friends, parents and neighbours for their “lack of care”.

Despite his intention, he was resuscitated and survived the suicide attempt. But, as a result of the ordeal, he suffered permanent brain damage.

Despite the many options that he had, like focussing his attention on a myriad of other girls elsewhere, the love-crazed young fellow took a decision which was obviously not in his best interest. Despite the angle from which one can look at it, his was not the best decision he could make. It was really not worth his while to risk his life for someone who was clearly not interested in him.

In another similar, but unrelated occurrence, former minister of intelligence and former deputy minister of health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge have this week launched a particular “Vote No” campaign. The aim of the campaign is to persuade activists and others not to vote for the African National Congress, or at least spoil their vote, on May 7 this year.

The two former leaders of the ruling ANC are apparently fed up with their former party’s “fraud and corruption”, and therefore urge that people do not vote or spoil their votes. Voting is every South African’s right and must not be undermined. Were there no other options for Kasrils and company?

In his article, The contradictions of Ronnie Kasrils: The leftist spy who came in from cold Pretoria, Director of the UKZN Centre for Civil Society (2012), Patrick Bond writes; “Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then (2008) an international laughing stock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape.

His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best”. 

Whether I agree with this analysis or not, I can sense that it alleges some elements of mismanagement and corruption within the ministry that was then headed by Kasrils. Should I, as an independent spectator, therefore take that analysis and urge people not to vote because of similar allegations about the government? I do not think so.

The analysis above states that it was under Kasril’s watch that the now convicted criminal Jackie Selebi shared beds with mafias. There is no direct link between Kasril and these mafias, at least according to the paper above, but there is an insinuation of a minister whose guards have been let down. My point here is not that Kasril was a corrupt minister, but that even during his tenure there were analyses or allegations that linked him to corruption, directly or indirectly.

And for Kasrils to wake up and suddenly campaign for people to spoil votes is extraordinarily immature. If there is corruption, are there no relevant bodies to deal with it? And if there is corruption in government, and Kasrils knows about it, why has he never, since quitting government in 2008, reported it to the authorities?

Does he not have confidence in the authorities, and, if so, why?

Secondly, if Kasrils and his partners are fed up with the ANC, why do they not establish their own political party to contest the ANC in elections? This option will give them an opportunity to really expose whatever corruption they have identified.

If all else fails, Kasrils and company can decide not to vote in silence. After all, it is an individual decision to vote or not to vote. Why would you drag others into a pond when you simply want to swim?

It is important for all South Africans not to allow Kasrils and others mislead them unnecessarily. It is a lie that you can fight corruption, perceived or real, by spoiling your vote.

Like the boy who drank medicines because he wanted to kill himself, Kasrils must throw himself into the railway all alone! 

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