Simon Williamson

Proudly brought to you by the DA

2014-03-14 11:29

Simon Williamson

The ANC's feathers have been ruffled on numerous occasions in the lead up to the 2014 elections, because they are being hammered in the province. Not only are the party's internal polls showing it sitting at around 45% (that's a clobbering from 2009's 64%) but the opposition Democratic Alliance has got an effective message across.

Although it is highly possible that the DA is merely using these billboards as an attention-seeking gimmick, having "Load shedding: proudly brought to you by the ANC" and "E-tolls: Proudly brought to you by the ANC" plastered around Johannesburg is actually a quite superb little bit of campaigning, because it zeroes in on two utter screw ups with which the ANC has saddled the citizens of Gauteng.

Although The Little Party That Could tried in vain with ideas like the #KnowYourDA campaign, where it thought it might dip a toe into the ANC's liberation puddle, and tried its utmost to recruit a high profile black person to be its presidential candidate, these billboards actually focus on issues common to everyone in Gauteng.

Ideological arguments

Load shedding is absolutely infuriating and horrendous for business, and the e-tolls that the ANC has shat all over the province's highways make up a flawed system that diverts millions of rands to foreign bank accounts by forcing drivers, with the coercive power of government, to fork over dosh, on top of what they cough up in the fuel levy.

And predictably, when poking the government bear with the right stick, in the right place, there was a reaction. "They will stop at nothing to use anything for election purposes," said Keith Khoza, ironically, considering he's head of communications of the "If you don't vote the Boers will come back to control us," party.

Ideological arguments aren't easy for the DA to win, and parading photos of Helen Suzman around isn't going sway too many people who know the courageous histories of folks like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo or Mac Maharaj. Accusing the entire ANC of being corrupt is somewhat difficult to prove (although President Zuma is doing his level best to help on this front), and yet another politician promising some integer-million jobs is really just like pouring a jug of water into the sea.


Arguments about what apartheid is and is not responsible for will rage on and on (largely because apartheid was heinous, and implemented with the precision of a surgeon, and has effects that will last for many years, which those not on the receiving end of will constantly deny).

Arguments about infrastructure will run for generations. The conduct of the police will (and should!) be debated. So will the effect of a political relationship between the ruling party and the unions (and the Communists, if they still did anything).

But there is one political entity solely responsible for e-tolls and load shedding. The mismanagement of the power supply and the extra money for which the government wants to gouge motorists are draped in black, green and gold.

I'm no huge fan of the DA, but I am a fan of good politics. So enough waffle: less #KnowYourDA and more "Proudly brought to you by the ANC".

- Simon Williamson is a freelance writer. Follow @simonwillo on Twitter.

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Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  elections 2014

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