Opposition parties face an uphill battle

2019-05-02 06:01

The 08 May 2019 general elections are going to crystallise South African binary politics. Those who have social media would have already seen the popularity of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in that domain, and if social media were the gauge used to determine the winner of the elections, the EFF would win. However, the EFF and Democratic Alliance (DA) are not going to win these upcoming elections despite popularity on social media, especially with the youth. Despite their service delivery failures, the Africa National Congress (ANC) is going to win.

Therefore, the question we should ask is: how will the ANC, having failed to provide service delivery, win the election?

The victory of the ANC in the upcoming elections emanates from the South African binary politics. The binary politics of our country consists of politics of the extra-ordinary on one hand and normalised politics on the other. The latter terrain of politics is dominated by white voters and a few educated black middle-class voters. These few black voters who joined normalised politics, the previously exclusively white voters’ domain, have received criticism from fellow blacks. They have been called names such as ‘clever blacks’ and ‘sell-outs’ for criticising the failures of the ANC-led government. In addition, young black university students and the youth in general, impatient with the snail’s pace of the ANC in transforming the economy, have joined the EFF in espousing for radical economic policies such as nationalising banks and expropriation of land without compensation. Nevertheless, and for obvious reasons such as low youth voter turnout and a general feeling, more, especial among the older generation, who feel as if they are feel they are indebted and/or have a moral responsibility to vote for the ANC because it liberated them from Apartheid, the EFF and DA is not going to win the upcoming elections.

The politics of the extra-ordinary is dominated by black voters This domain of politics is the ANC stronghold, despite the ANC continuously failing black voters who are its supporters.

In the domain of politics of extra-ordinary, there is high unemployment, poverty, protests for service delivery, and the dependency on state social welfare programmes. Life in this domain is characterized by the state of death. There is a prevalence of women and children abuse (not that women and children abuse is not prevalent in the normalised politics), murder and many other social ills.

I suppose the question should then be, why do black people continue to vote for the ANC despite the ANC-led government’s continuous failures?

The DA leaders’ racist comments and some white South African’s, such as Penny Sparrow, comments are contributing to many black people in this country continuance voting for the ANC.

The DA’s former leader, Helen Zille, tweeting in praise of colonialism and other DA leader’s, such as Dianne Kohler Barnard, are contributing to the victory of the ANC. This is my view. This view seems to be confirmed by Ace Magashule (although it may be dismissed by claiming that Ace Magashule to be “merely” being a populist seeking to be “radical” as it appears to be the case in the populist establishment that anyone who is anti-white is said to be “radical”) allegedly telling the black voters not to vote for white person political party. In addition, Ace Magashule enunciation may be detrimental to the DA in gaining of votes from black voters although DA have black senior leaders.

In addition, the former DA leader, Hellen Zille’s tweets accentuate the idea among black voters that the DA might bring Apartheid back if it could ascend to power and the ANC, when campaigning in black voters’ society, capitalise on this.

Moreover, the comments made by the City of Cape Town Mayor, Dan Plato, complaining about black African people to be the threat to the City of Cape Town budget also serves to validate fears of black voters that DA party is anti-black even though it may have black senior leaders and its leader being black.

The dependence of black voters on state welfare programmes have become a political campaigning tool and a politically expedient way of wooing black voters. This is evidenced within the EFF election manifesto, which states that if they could win the upcoming general election, they will double the amount of social grants. It is also evident in the implausible promise made by the ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa to the people of Alexandra in Gauteng. He promised that the ANC-led government would build one million houses over the next five years.

I am then convinced that the ANC post-independence electoral dominance is supposed to be studied historically, i.e. we must be cognisant of the country’s’ past of settler colonialism and [post] Apartheid legacy of bifurcated state.

Yonela Mlambo Khayelitsha
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