As we draw closer to the 2011 municipal elections in South Africa an increase in politically motivated and emotionally charged letters written by passionate News24 readers seem to be the order of the day.
It is obvious that numerous writers are feeling extremely disenchanted and are writing out of a real concern for the future of our country and all of its citizens.
Writers are mostly fed up and disillusioned with the current government and its impotence in providing even the most basic services like clean water. These dynamics motivate people like you and I to take the time to write a letter in the hope that it is published on a public platform which is open to comment, debate and abuse.
There is immense significance in the shared public sentiment in a number of these articles. The writer attempts to outline how they feel in South Africa 2011, endeavouring to draw from their own experiences and the shared sentiments of their family members, friends and colleagues. Often comments are made that will offend certain demographics, as opinion often does not have a firm foot in fact and is drawn from their social environment and associated bias.
Articles are frequently followed by heated debate that seems all too often to have a racially motivated undertone rather than a constructive political debate and solution. The more we debate, the more we understand, the more we learn and the closer we get as a society. Without debate we would fail to be a democracy. But through generalising and arguing one race is better than the other is not helping anyone except the ruling party who seems to draw strength through racial alienation.
The dark underbelly of popular SA politics reveals a more sinister plot craftily engineered by ANC, a plot that will ensure their political survival and domination. Racial fear mongers are strategically placed in our society and are given ample airtime in the media to instil and breed trepidation and prejudice amongst different race groups. They are surviving on race fuel, and if they can keep the majority sceptical along racial lines they secure their longevity as the dominant political party.
The signifier that this subversion by the ANC is working can be found in the racially motivated comments that often follow politically inspired articles. Often the reader’s comments are more subversive than the actual letters, giving one a unique insight into the deluded mindset of many South Africans. Their racial aversions influenced by cultural stigmas and more often than not fear.
There exists an undertone of anxiety and prejudice, which has through crafty propaganda immersed itself in the culturally diverse race groups of South Africa. One of my employees said to me yesterday that they were told by one of their ANC counsellors that if they didn’t vote for the ANC Mandela would die and the whites would steal their jobs. As audacious as this sounds it is paramount to fear mongering.
As soon as someone writes a politically charged letter it automatically turns into a race row. The comments quickly move to whites calling blacks savages and saying they must go back to the bush where they came from, blacks calling whites colonialist oppressors that are no longer welcome in SA. Statements like blacks need to go back to the Iron Age where the whites found them and give back all the “white invented” technology like cellular phones, cars, computers, sanitation and electricity are commonplace. Black readers then retort with the argument that whites enslaved them, stole their identities, enforced segregation and before we know it a race row explodes with no outcome, because there isn’t one if we begin a debate in this context. We need to engage in POSITIVE constructive dialogue to move forward.
One of the primary areas for concern when reading the reader comments is that we appear to be under the misconception that the ANC is a racial group or entity for blacks only. This however is not the case, it is a political party like any other party in South Africa. Countless white activists fought for the freedom and human rights of all South Africans. The propaganda that the ANC is the party for the blacks, DA for the whites is being promoted on the ground by the ANC in its efforts to keep SA alienated and the race groups polarised into political parties and thus placing the ANC firmly at the helm.
It can also be argued that the ANC draws its power from its political strength and not its ability to lead or govern. A government can be politically powerful but governmentally inept if its electorate can be easily influenced. People often ask how they can possibly still be in power after all their failures. Failures undeniably evident in countless botched community projects, failed service delivery, crumbling infrastructure, bankrupted parastatals and billions in squandered taxpayer money. Yet through all of these shortcomings they have remained politically powerful.
The articles in the media exposing massive corruption, gross incompetence, and nepotism/cronyism that is running rampant in the ANC currently is not an attack on black people, they are attacking a system that is clearly failing in every single one of its mandates. You don’t need to be a political scientist to see that our government is in a shambles and is not benefitting the man on the street, the very people whose freedom they supposedly fought so hard for.
Maybe the ANC started with good intentions, but as we have learned through various forms of historical literature: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
If the ANC die hard supporters would take their blinkers off and swallow a few empty calories of pride and admit that the ANC has failed South Africa in almost every quantifiable facet of governance including service delivery, education, housing, health care and the basic protection and safety of its citizens we can begin to move on as a nation. We cannot carry on down this river of denial till we all sail over the edge.
The National Party failed us and the ANC is failing us now. A common trend can be noted, again not requiring a PhD in politics: The average citizen is yet again on the receiving end of the raw deal. The ANC continue using basic woodwork tools like Julius Malema to entrench the very prejudices and bigotry that they vehemently deny they promote. The National party used similar tactics to encourage racial fear through propaganda and racial stereotyping during apartheid.
This tactic has been adopted by the ANC’s own little Joseph Malema Goebbels to keep the people divided and suspicious and the masses are eating it up like bananas on the ANC campaign trail. This is their primary weapon, and the race card is their only tool in controlling their voters and keeping them loyal. The white man is the devil and the DA the disguised apartheid henchmen operating in the shadows to steal away your freedom.
Similarly to during the apartheid years, today an elite few are benefitting from the spoils of our labours while the majority still live in abject poverty. The limited numbers of taxpayers are carrying an unsustainable burden, with massive amounts of tax revenue being misappropriated, squandered, lost or stolen by members of government. Whites are pointing fingers at blacks, blacks pointing fingers at whites. Politically powerful leaders are engaging in various forms of racially motivated hate speech, speaking of revolution and other using passive aggressive comments placed in or out of context to garner support.
What we need to understand is that the ANC is not a race; it is a corrupt deteriorating political party that was given a mandate by the people to govern and deliver on their promises laid out in the freedom charter. It’s not about blacks failing, and whites laughing at them and propagation their failures because they now “own the country” but can’t manage it. It’s about opening our eyes for a second and looking around us. Look at how the top brass in the ANC are living. They are living in ignorant opulence, flashy cars, 5 star hotels, first class air travel, while handing out tenders to their friends and family members. Self-enrichment is not a right of government; it is the right of hard working people who should be given equal and fair opportunity to compete in an economical environment that promotes freedom and equality.
We need to stand up as one nation united by the common experience of being taken for a ride by every government that has ever led South Africa. We need to give the next party a chance to show us what they can do for all of us and not just an elite few. It’s time to stop believing promises that bear no fruit. Who are the richest people in South Africa currently? It’s the people who have aligned themselves with the ANC, how can this alignment be justified and accepted? The Zumas are getting richer by the day, the Mandela family is filthy rich and the list goes on and on. Big business is too scared to speak out because their pockets are being lined and controlled by the ANC so it’s really up to you and me to vote with our brains, not our hearts.
A famous quote by Mark Twain goes a long way in contextualizing our current political environment: "Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it." The ANC is not our country, South Africa is. The pure arrogance of politicians saying the ANC will rule till Jesus returns reeks of a total detachment from reality and conceit. The ANC does not deserve our loyalty or respect. These attributes are earned and not dished out because of their political position and empty promises. We need to be loyal to ourselves and put South Africa first. We all deserve it.
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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.