Parties selling flawed policies

2019-03-27 06:00

AS in previous elections, South Africa’s two largest political parties — the ANC and the DA — are selling citizens flawed policies that are packaged in such a manner that they could easily fool even the most intelligent voters.

In its manifesto, the DA promises South Africans that if voted into power, the official opposition would ensure that within each family at least one person would have a job.

This sounds like a noble idea, particularly given that most struggling families in this country do not have even a single member who has a job.

On the other hand, most family members of those who are well-off happen to also have an income.

So, on the surface, the DA policy could be seen as an attempt by the party to ensure that the poor of the poorest at least have something to eat before going to bed.

However, to keep interrogation at bay, the DA did not offer much detail on how the party intends to achieve its stated objective.

For example, one of the legitimate questions that an inquisitive voter could ask is: once the DA has given a job to this family member, how will the party ensure that he or she uses his or her wages to support the entire family?

Will the DA come up with a law compelling this employed family member to buy groceries and other necessities for unemployed family members?

Yes, it is true that some family members fortunate enough to have an income feel obliged to support their unemployed siblings, parents and grannies.

However, the reality is that some people simply do not see the need to share their income with anyone, not even their family.

Surely DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who grew up in Dobsonville, a black township in Johannesburg, should be familiar with the plight of poor mothers who complain about a child who upon getting an income deserted them.

If Maimane happens to believe that for some reason, cases of those who turn their back on family members no longer form part of the township story, then he should just tune in to Mzansi Magic’s How I Blew It documentary series.

It tells stories of South Africans, the majority of whom are black and poor, who after receiving an unexpected windfall, desert their families.

One of the episodes tells the story of an unemployed Limpopo man who received a R1,8 million Road Accident Fund payout after being injured in a car accident.

He bought seven cars and hired a driver for each one of them.

The vehicles were used for no other purpose than to transport him and his crew of girlfriends from one drinking hole to the other.

When he returned to his family three months later, his bank account was overdrawn.

With its one-job-per-family slogan, the DA completely ignores these realities, which in South Africa cannot be regarded as an exception.

On the other hand, the ANC continues to insult the intelligence of voters, particularly the black and poor, by presenting its affirmative action policies as a panacea to their unemployment woes.

According to the ANC, the policies would ensure that jobs are reserved for blacks, making it easier for them to access employment in both the government and private sector.

However, the reality is that most of the jobs which the economy is now producing, require people who have some sort of qualification, and the majority of blacks would not be able to get that kind of employment as they do not possess the required qualifications or skills. In instances where the minimum requirements are low, the posts are likely to be filled by black people anyway, not because of the ANC’s affirmative action but simply because most whites are not interested in that kind of work.

It is for this reason that the SA Police Service is now battling to get whites to join the service.

What the ANC does not tell voters is that in the end, the party’s affirmative action policies only work for the politically connected black elite. This is even more so when it comes to government jobs.

In its recent presentation to the KZN Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), the provincial Department of Social Development revealed that some of the people in the department were hired without having to undergo interviews.

In other words, the many black applicants who adhered to the government’s recruitment policies by filling in the requisite forms and subjecting themselves to interviews, were overlooked, while those who did not follow the regulations were rewarded with cushy jobs.

However, despite these major flaws, particularly in the implementation, the ANC still has the gall to present its affirmation action as a solution to black unemployment.

Like in the case of the DA, some of the ANC’s policies appear to be designed to catch the eye of the voter as opposed to providing tangible solutions to the challenges being faced by many of our citizens.

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