In the final lines of their classic hit Won't Get Fooled Again, considered by many to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time, The Who delivered the damning line "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". The antics of the DA this last weekend have illustrated just what that means.
When first asked, the DA denied that they were behind the (rather witty) e-toll billboards. Now they have said actually they are ours, which is to say they lied.
So blind is the support for the DA amongst certain corners that this dishonesty is being celebrated as some sort of genius by commentators on this website - commentators who, if they can be bothered to do so, will no doubt leave abusive posts here, assuming they just read what they want and not the whole article. One cannot but help wonder would such commentators be so congratulatory and celebratory of the ANC, IFP, EFF or who you like if they had been so brazen about a lie in public? No, I thought not.
Make no mistake, this is no apologist piece for the ANC. They are a party who have very badly lost their way. The short-sighted, rather inept leadership of Mbeki led the country to the border of a mess; Zuma's map reading skills meant that we have gone over the border rather than turned back to the path we should be on. Just because the party in power is going the wrong way, however, doesn't automatically mean those you vote in to replace them will be better. This is particularly the case when, which is as far as I can see, the opposition's policy statements are limited to "well, they are wrong".
Since it's always flavour of the month, let us look at this E-toll business, the one the DA are all so much against. Have they pleged to remove this E-toll system if elected? No they have not. Oh, sure, they have given some money to a court case - R1,000,000 seems like a lot, but it is rather trivial compared to the amount of positive advertising it has bought them. If the DA came in to power, you all understand that E-tolls will carry on exactly as they are, yeah? It will be "oh, well, we wanted to remove them, but because of what the previous government did....." and so on. It will be a lot like that with a lot of things, just indeed as the ANC, when it suits them, blame apartheid for something wrong or unfixed.
When I try to find out what it is that the DA will do which will be so much better than the ANC I usually just get given the phrase "DA all the way". That is indeed a catchy, neat little slogan, but it is not policy. You may recall the Americans got all excited about a catchphrase in the form of "Yes we can", believing that it heralded a new era, a new way of thinking and a new way of leadership. Go read up on the current US Government shutdown to see how successful in the long term voting for a slogan, or voting simply to get rid of the party in power, works out.
One political promise I can recall, I think from the 2004 election in fairness, was that the DA promised to put many thousands of more police on the streets. So? There are probably quite enough police on the streets as it is - the problem is not the numbers, it is the lack of training and the unchecked, mostly unpunished corruption. How would more badly trained, liable to bribe police officers help, exactly?
Weak opposition gives bad governments as much power to carry on with disaster-loaded consequences for a nation as much as the inept, or if you like corrupt, ways of the government itself does. Look at the lack of opposition to Thatcher in the 80s, or to a degree the fear of being seen as unpatrotic when in came to voicing against Bush in America in the early 00s. With no credible, viable alternative given to government decisions that were or eventually proved to be bad and damaging to a nation, onwards that government went.
South Africa is in desperate need of a credible political opposition to the ANC, one that can either challenge them in an election or present a viable alternative way of thinking and acting that can put pressure on them to perform. The DA, at present, simply do not do this. Using the whole E-toll thing as a political tool is quite clever, but telling lies of any nature just harms the credibility of any political party.
To an ardent DA supporters here offended, well, sorry I guess. You are welcome to simply post abuse and that here, you know, the type of comment that young Julius gets knocked for but is OK to write in defence of the DA. I would really like to see, though, some sort of statement that clarifies that the DA will in fact remove all the E-tolls, as well as their proposal for the repayment of the debts run up in constructing the roads. Some clarification on why it was perfectly acceptable to lie in this case would be good too, especially if it indicates that it would be quite all right for other political parties to lie in the same way.
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.