Ralph Mathekga

Strange factors in the build-up to the 2019 elections

2019-03-26 10:24
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at the rollout of the ANC manifesto in Limpopo. (Image via ANC Twitter)

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at the rollout of the ANC manifesto in Limpopo. (Image via ANC Twitter)

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On matters relating to the destruction of the name of the ANC and possibly reducing support, the ANC prefers to do this job itself instead of leaving it to amateurs such as the DA, writes Ralph Mathekga.

If there was any doubt that South Africa is a strange country where everything happens and yet nothing major happens, the 2019 elections will surely remove that doubt and reveal South Africa for the strange country it is.

A lot has been said already about the 2019 elections. I have heard some of my colleagues saying that the elections are the most contested yet. Well, we said the same thing about the 2016 local government elections. I remember someone saying the same thing about the 2014 general elections; that they were the most hotly contested yet.

READ: Why we should ignore polls that predict election results

I remember the 2009 elections in which Cope made its maiden appearance; they were also dubbed the most contested elections yet. It seems electoral competition is just becoming more and more intense with each election.

There is something that can be said about the 2019 elections that sets it apart from the previous ones. The strange thing about the forthcoming May 8 elections is that they have revealed how odd our society has become within a very short space of time, and how that oddness is increasingly becoming the new normal.

Take for example the meteoric rise in popularity of the EFF among young people, despite the party not having done much to inspire such admiration. Isn't it strange that the party that is not in government is set to receive more electoral reward for its non-existent record, other than disrupting former president Jacob Zuma to the point where he had to resign?

Jacob Zuma left office not because the ANC wanted him to go, but largely because the EFF turned the hit on him whilst the ANC was conducting the longest feasibility study yet on the implications of removing a rogue president. That is just about it in terms of performance from the EFF corner; yet the party is becoming increasingly popular as if it implemented an incredible youth unemployment programme that lifted half of the unemployed youth from poverty.

Another strange thing about the forthcoming elections is that despite plunging the country into the darkness courtesy of Eskom load shedding, the ANC keeps on insisting that it does not expect the voters to punish them at the polls.

The ANC keeps coming up in various inquiries including the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. The party is openly claiming that it is the brains behind the formation of this commission despite knowing very well that its former president went to court to try to stall and ultimately block its creation.

What surprises me is that the ANC could simply go the 'no comment' route whenever it is asked questions to which honest answers will expose the party. Yet, the party volunteers incoherent statements to anyone who cares to listen; clearly losing out on the right to shut up when it comes to controversial matters that involve the party.

It is not only the ANC and the EFF that are behaving in a way that is stranger than fiction; the DA is refusing to be left behind in the oddness stand-up comedy.

Out of nowhere, the DA issued a statement saying that they will now focus on reducing the ANC majority to 55%. The DA has further conceded that they will not focus on winning the elections because the elections are so unwinnable.

It is odd for the DA to openly admit that Ramaphosa is indeed effective as the ANC's chief crisis manager whose job is to keep on asking people to trust him and forget about corruption that has thrived in recent years under the ANC-led government.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa has to choose between South Africa and the ANC

The DA could have kept this information to themselves. In any case, what makes the party so arrogant to believe that the ANC will allow them the privilege to reduce its majority to 55%? It will get there without the help of the DA. When it comes to destroying the ANC, the mighty ANC does not allow anyone such honour.

On matters relating to the destruction of the name of the ANC and possibly reducing support, the ANC prefers to do this job itself instead of leaving it to amateurs such as the DA. Therefore, get off your high horse, DA; the ANC will carry out its self-destruction programme without your help.

We are headed to the elections where political parties such as the EFF incriminate themselves by claiming without any provocation that they stand against corruption whilst refusing to account on the VBS looting implying the money stolen was just not enough to warrant any inquiry. That's odd.     

- Ralph Mathekga is a senior researcher at UWC's Centre for Humanities Research, and author of When Zuma Goes and Ramaphosa's Turn.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  elections 2019
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