Max du Preez

We should all be voting

2007-12-05 08:26

Max du Preez

There are hundreds of thousands, if not several million, of South African women who are angry at the ANC Women's League's betrayal of the cause by refusing to put forward a woman candidate for the ANC presidential election and instead proposing a man with archaic sexist views. Hopefully hundreds of thousands of liberated men are angry for the same reason.

There are also large numbers of South Africans who are frustrated that talented leaders such as Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, Joel Netshitenze, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sezwale are not even in the race for the two positions that will most likely determine who our next president and deputy-president will be.

I am one of those citizens who are annoyed that the ANC's broedertwis has determined that there should be a showdown between Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki at the Polokwane conference.

Mbeki cannot be president after the next election. His running for the leadership of the party is solely aimed at thwarting Zuma. Many thousands of ANC branch members only voted for Zuma because they wanted to make it clear that they want no more of Mbeki. If it were Ramaphosa or Sexwale standing against Zuma, perhaps these people would have voted for them.

To all these angry, frustrated and annoyed citizens inside and outside the ANC I say, let's start campaigning for a new system where we can all vote for the president, not only for members of parliament. The ANC can choose their own leader, but in a system with such a strong presidency all voters should have a say in who should be the president of the country.

Presidential candidates

We can have this vote on the same day as a general election to save money, but the presidential candidates will have to stand as individuals rather than as party representatives, otherwise we would simply have the same farce inside the biggest party.

So instead of a few thousand of the party faithful deciding in Polokwane who our next head of state should be, we would all be voting. If we had such a system now, the candidates would probably have looked like this: Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, Cyril Ramaphosa, Patricia de Lille, Tokyo Sexwale and Joel Netshitenze. And even if you were a staunch DA or ID supporter, you would have known that your vote would be wasted on your candidate and you could have decided to rather vote for one of the ANC-aligned candidates.

(This new system would also allow us to bring back a bit of fun into our politics. If it was made clear that anybody could stand for president, we would surely have some celebrities with huge egos enter the race - I'm thinking Zola 7 and Steve Hofmeyr here. I would personally have liked to add Evita Bezuidenhout's name to the list. And perhaps Jon Qwelane's, not because he's a politician, but because I want to suck up to him - he's an old broer of mine and now I've pissed him off by writing Jacob Zuma had archaic and sexist views on women.)

And while we're changing the electoral system, I think we should also bring in a new constituency system so you can have a local Member of Parliament whom you can go to when you have gripes or problems. For as long as members of parliament are determined by the party hierarchies, we will never have proper accountability.

And while we're changing that, can we now finally scrap the disgusting floor-crossing custom please?

Send your comments to Max.

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