Win or lose, the challenges remain the same

2008-10-25 00:00

A s political parties gear up for the national government elections set to take place sometime next year, it is still unclear how many members the African National Congress will lose to the so-called splinter party that is yet to be started by former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and other ANC dissidents.

The ruling party is unlikely to lose members and voters to other political parties during the elections, which explains why opposition parties have welcomed Lekota’s move as they hope he may be able to do something they have failed to do. Instead, the ruling party has been gaining numbers, to the detriment of opposition parties.

Because politics is a game largely characterised by prostitutional and hypocritical tendencies, it will be interesting who Lekota will go to bed with, especially as he despised opposition parties while he held key positions in the ANC. I say this because the new party will be a carbon copy of the ruling party with a few tweaks here and there. While he has invited members of parties across the political divide, he stands to gain more from the ANC.

When campaign trails have come to an end, when ballots have been cast and counted, and when winners have been announced, the challenges that face the country, especially its poor, will continue to stare the winning party in the face.

The country’s 284 municipalities make up the tier of government that is at the coalface of service delivery. Fourteen years into the country’s democratic dispensation there are still communities without clean running water and shelter, while others have to deal with disease and unhygienic pit latrines.

These are basic needs and do not include other problems such as a lack of skills, poor education levels, no jobs or access to adequate health care, among others.

It is not because government does not have the necessary resources to provide some of these services but it is largely because of the incompetence of politicians and government staff, as well as corruption.

Many progressive initiatives have been put in place by our government but some of these initiatives have not gone to the heart of the problems and challenges. Take the child grants for instance. While this will continue to be an electioneering trump card, it is unsustainable. The people of a country should not be a burden on its finances. Instead, the government should empower them with marketable skills. Child-grant money would have gone a long way towards skilling the mothers. They would have been self-sufficient by now.

As the saying goes: give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach him how to fish and it will sustain him for a lifetime.

Regardless of who wins or loses, the challenges will remain the same, even multiply, while the people will continue to suffer.

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