Why the ANC lost the coloured vote

2014-05-23 00:00

IF the ANC wants to know how to get the coloured vote, then its members should read the text messages posted in the newspapers during election time.

Firstly, they would then know that coloured people abhor everything Marius Fransman represents. That the ANC appointed him as the point man in the province shows political stupidity of the highest order because the ANC does it with every election, and reaps no benefits from Fransman’s leadership or lack thereof. He lost the party the Western Cape in 2009 and the municipal elections afterwards.

Fransman hangs out with men of ill-repute and he lacks the ability of self-reflection. He is not a caring politician, he lacks compassion, and all his campaigns are about getting himself into even higher office. And those who fall for him believe that they have something to gain from being connected to the ANC via him.

A master of patronage and cronyism, that is the only modus operandi he knows.

More seriously, Fransman also represents how the ANC ruins good people, because in the early nineties, Fransman, believe it or not, was a good man. His reputation prior to, and including his ascent to MEC for Social Development, was positive. Many non-governmental organisations liked to work with him and I often met him in the same circles. All that humility and kindness has been destroyed, replaced by narcissism that is nauseating to behold.

The same applies to Ebrahim Rasool. Reeling him in from the United States for a short period before the election, hoping that his ethnic visage of both coloured and Muslim persuasion would sway both votes, demonstrates how fundamentally flawed the ANC’s understanding is of coloured people.

As a party, the ANC refuses to engage with the history of the coloured people — the Khoisan peoples, the history of slavery, the African People’s Congress, the Industrial Commercial Workers’ Union, the Non-European Unity Movement, and their resistance struggles.

The ANC’s nationalism blinds it to the history and struggles of other ethnic groups and political tendencies. Even the emergence of the United Democratic Front, with its diverse and powerful leadership, from grass roots upwards, intimidated the ANC, hence its relentless campaign to get Alan Boesak convicted (not that he is blameless), when others within the party, who were more corrupt in terms of the mega-millions stolen, have got off scot-free and been promoted to higher office.

The ANC’s obsession with affirmative action based on national demographics has had a deleterious effect on the jobs of coloured prison wardens in the Western Cape.

This was not helped by Jimmy Mannyi’s notorious remarks that there are too many coloureds in the Western Cape and that they should be dispersed across the nation.

Such policies and words grate the coloured people, who use their lack of nationalism and marginalisation very powerfully during elections.

Beholden to no one, and being on the margins, gives coloureds an autonomy that not even the Democratic Alliance understands, although it benefits from the coloured vote.

The bottom line for politicians is never patronise the coloured people, never underestimate their ability to play the field, and never undermine their contribution to the struggle for liberation.

Just as we had African quislings who ran the homeland governments under apartheid, so we had coloured quislings in the Coloured Representative Council, the Tricameral Parliament, the Cape Professional Teachers’ Union and the New National Party.

Today, a former apartheid spy is in the ANC cabinet and the ANC has links with the most notorious crooks, and the most dishonourable businesspeople.

The ANC is not the party for all people. Its sectarianism and partisanship are there for all to see.

• Rhoda Kadalie is the executive director of the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust.

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