Pacsa parties’ Q and A evening a dead bore

2009-04-02 00:00

Was it election fatigue that saw a very poor turnout of the general public at a meeting on the 2009 elections organised by the Pietermaritzburg Agency For Christian Social Awareness (Pacsa) in the city hall on Wednesday night?

The hall was not empty. It was packed with party supporters, but this is what made the evening so deadly boring. A supporter would stand up and ask a question of his representative, giving them the opportunity to say something profound about the party, while the faithful clapped loudly.

One of two non-partisans present was local environmental activist Shirley Gault, who managed to irritate the ANC on her arrival by asking them to remove their Jacob Zuma posters because “she disliked the man”.

She was treated very politely by a party representative and an organiser from Pacsa, who told her that parties are allowed to display their election material.

She did manage to ask about the parties’ environmental policies. This was right at the end of the debate and the responses from the parties proved some of the more interesting.

By this time I had lost my pen so my object in the next week is to actually look up the evironmental policies and write about them on this election page. The other was Quinton Nobin, a retired teacher, who asked a question on his pet topic, “Why are Christian Indian teachers not getting promotions?”.

Bravo to the strong contingent of representatives from the Gay and Lesbian network who turned up in their numbers, but only managed to get in one question.

They asked the parties how they would handle hate speech towards gays and lesbians. They received more or less stock answers on South Africa’s Constitution and Bill of Rights that protects minority groups and makes hate speech illegal.

It could have turned into a fascinating evening if the grouping were given the opportunity to ask more probing questions. All is not lost, however; perhaps the network can raise their concerns on this page?

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