Voting against incompetence

2008-04-18 00:00

There is so much happening that is good and praiseworthy, yet on the flipside of the coin there is in-scribed a litany of negative and blameworthy events, detracting from both the image and the living standards in our country.

Only a few weeks ago, Leslie Maasdorp was quoted in the influential Wall Street Journal as follows.

“Over the past decade, South Africa implemented fiscal and structural reforms that are a case study in sound economic management for developing as well as developed countries.

“Mr Manuel once again carefully balanced policies that promote growth and alleviate poverty. Although the government revised down the growth outlook for 2008 to four percent from 4,5% to take account of the global slowdown and the impact of electricity rationing, the outlook looks more favourable than it has been in several decades.”

John Battersby, the spokesperson for the International Marketing Council of SA, has been observed as writing: “South Africa has weathered a change in party leadership which marks the first time that a governing party in Africa has removed a serving leader in a free vote. The change of party leadership sends a clear signal to the rest of Africa and the world that South Africa will observe both the letter and the spirit of term limitation and leadership renewal. The underlying fundamentals of the economy are sound and the economy has weathered the international credit crisis and volatile equity markets better than most.”

True this may be, but if we are honest we cannot but admit that the idyllic image of the Nelson Mandela-inspired rainbow nation has faded badly.

The electricity crisis, which is threatening to implode the growth of our economy, is a direct result of government and Eskom incompetence. On top of this, South Africans continue to live with an excessively high crime rate (50 murders per day, 365 days p.a.), a failing school education system, and the continuation of the asinine administration of our health care system by a minister derided by all except the president.

South Africa’s limp-wristed response to Zimbabwe’s criminally tyrannical leadership is yet another good reason for strong condemnation.

The results are sobering to say the least. Skilled South Africans are voting with their feet and leaving by the thousands.

No amount of “Please come home”campaigns will bring people back while families feel unsafe in their homes, or lack cofidence ijn their future and that of their children due to the skewed application of affirmative action.

Unless this unfairly applied racialistic policy is drastically amended, unless crime is decisively defeated, more educated people will leave, never to return to live in this country.

But in all this lies a clear warning to the ANC. The people are not fools.They see the newly acquired wealth of the favoured few via cozy BEE deals. They note the apparent tolerance of corruption, and the venal and unpunished ANC parliamentarians who tried to defraud Parliament and the taxpayers.

Recently, Macassar, a mixed black and coloured ward on the outskirts of Cape Town, including in its area an enclave of some 2 500 wealthy white voters was the scene of a municipal by-election. In 2005, the DA won the ward by polling 2 500 votes, with the ANC coming in second with some 1 500 votes, and the Independent Democrats led by Patricia de Lille trailing in third position with some 1 000 votes.

This time around the DA dropped some 200 votes to come in second, the ANC lost some 700 votes to drop to a poor third and the ID won by polling over 2 500 votes.

The warning is this. If the ANC continues to use its energies to enrich itself and its friends, rather than uplift the country, if the ANC-led government continues to fail to provide security against crime, if the ANC’s policies continue to make skilled minorities feel unwanted, these people will drain away and leave the country. Service delivery will suffer even further, and the ANC will eventually lose the loyalty of even its strongest supporters.

This is no threat, but merely an informed prediction. It is time to recreate the “Rainbow Nation”.

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