Election time: Season of murder and lies

2011-02-05 00:00

ADVERTS are already being carried in the media about the upcoming local government elections and this weekend sees the first of many voter registration drives which will be conducted at polling stations across the country.

The African National Congress (ANC) has got its campaign under way in tandem with that of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and, because they head the government, they decide on these matters.

This is a system that short-changes other political parties because they can only launch their campaigns after the ruling party has announced the date of the elections. This means that at the beginning, other political parties are often caught napping.

Some parties have not done their best to prepare for the elections, such as the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which has just split into two, with the splinter party called the National Freedom Party (NFP). Naming the latter didn't involve much creativity, did it?

The former stands to be the biggest loser in these elections as it went from controlling 48 out of 61 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal to 32 in the 2006 elections. The government has taken service-delivery programmes into the heart of IFP strongholds and it still boggles my mind how and why the IFP failed to service its own back yard when it was in power for eight years in KwaZulu-Natal. Now they have no leg to stand on and they continue to bleed heavily.

Outgoing councillors try to hold on to another five years of pay and benefits, despite the fact that they have failed to deliver, but the residents are now fed up and are demanding change.

Candidates will resort to killing the competition to clear their way to being elected as there is a false sense of entitlement in terms of positions and this is a cancer that will cripple the ruling party.

People will no longer wait for the party to choose leaders for them. It is mostly the regional leaders of the ANC, who are removed from the communities, who are chosen by the party.

The incompetent councillors are often friends and allies of members of the regional executive. The latter are often MECs or higher-ranking members of the provincial and national governments, which means they have clout and influence.

It's a relationship that does not deliver on the mandate of government and the party. Residents would rather vote for an independent candidate who will deliver, than a fellow comrade who has failed them again and again.

If you are a candidate for councillorship, this is the season to watch your back as fellow comrades become backstabbers, literally. If you do not believe me, ask Mcebisi Skatshwa of the Western Cape, who was stabbed by a fellow comrade at an ANC meeting a few years ago. If you are a voter, this is the time of empty promises, which will remain unfulfilled until the next elections in 2016, when a new batch of promises will be made. So, 'tis the season to be killed or lied to, depending on who you are.

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