Looking back at a year of dramatic politics

2009-12-19 00:00

As this year draws to a close, I thought this would be an ideal time to reflect on a year that has been nothing short of dramatic, to say the least. You can refer to it as my own “scorecard to the people” of our politricks, if you will.

South Africa has matured politically and the political landscape has matured, thanks largely to our opposition parties, the ones that still exist anyway. I will not mention any names, Inkatha Freedom Party.

More than before, opposition parties have taken the fight to the African National Congress with consistency and venom. This is especially true of the self-appointed advocates of opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance. This can be credited largely to the changing of the guard, as the chihuahua made way for a dog with not just a loud bark but also a bite. Although Helen Zille has been at the helm of the DA since 2007, it is only now that the results are beginning to show. Zille has become ‘a “necessary nuisance” in our politics.

As watchdogs, the DA has made sure there are fewer Beemers with blue lights outside Parly than there would have been. The DA has picked on some critical issues and missteps made by the ANC government, which still lacks an efficient mechanism of identifying which battles to engage in and which ones will be fruitless.

The appointment of Menzi Simelane is a case in point. I think the ruling party knows, just as we all do, that it could not have chosen a worse or more incompetent person than Simelane, but there is nothing anyone can do about it. We are screwed and that’s that.

Even Nelson Mandela can’t do anything about it, although the whites of this country believe so much in their messiah. Even a prayer by Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu won’t help at all. Another case in point is the fight for the reinstatement of President Jacob Zuma’s corruption charges. Zille is more likely to be our ambassador to Zimbabwe than that happening.

On the other hand, while the ANC got it wrong with the appointments of Simelane and Shabir Shaik’s brother as the top spy, the change in the country’s Aids policy alone did us a world of good. And thanks to the previous and current administrations, we were largely shielded from the adverse effects of the global recession.

The DA gets an eight, the IFP and Congress of the People get a two each for their lack of activity, the Independent Democrats and the National Democratic Convention (Nadeco) get five each for being in the background, while the ANC gets a seven.

• P.S. While we all know there are several ways of skinning a cat, shooting is not one of them. One would not have cared much if the cat in question was a Tiger, but poor Goya must have thought she was the wrong target. Animal Rights Africa, the most vocal opponent of the bull killing, is conspicuous in its silence, not even a purr or a meow. Detractors of Zulu culture will complain until the cows come home.

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