2016-08-07 00:39

This year's local government election has exposed a fibre in the anatomy of our nation we never knew existed. A decade ago, you could pose a question to the effect of the shocking outcome we witnessed this past week, and one would have to stretch their imagination beyond the ends of the universe to come to a conclusion that the ANC could be on the verge of losing power just 22 years into democracy.

Of course, the ANC won the national vote, and it can also be argued that where they lost the margins were small. However, it must be noted that failure to achieve an increase in voter numbers is equally a loss, no matter how big or little the margins may be. It should be understood that if you win by an overwhelming majority today, and register a significant decrease tomorrow, the message ought to be received as an enormous stamp of disapproval. The outcome of the election, particularly in Tshwane and the Nelson Mandela Bay requires that the organisation reflect extensively on what could be the root of the enormous problem they are confronted with, and the point of departure thereof.

Among the many issues primary to the downward trend the organisation has experienced over the last decade, is the inability to govern with the principle to serve high up on the agenda. For years, the fundamental principle to serve was submerged under an ocean of corruption, poor management of municipalities and the undue influence of pseudo-politicians in the administration of supply chain processes. To further perpetuate the sheer disregard for basic beliefs with which to strengthen a democracy, the organisation abandoned its most important responsibility; that of constantly engaging the community and ensuring that decisions are taken in consultation with the constituency.

Moreover, the ANC is at war with itself. With its branches now preoccupied with the elevation of personality cults and the idolisation of President Jacob Zuma, despite his shortcomings, it manifests a hostile atmosphere where ideas are attached to individuals and are then upheld or shot down on the basis of who has their hand up. As if not compromising enough, Zuma continues to be marred in controversy, and more of often when spirits are heightened in the political sphere, just as was the case this past week, his integrity barely ever comes out intact. One such example is the question around whether he is the one responsible for the ANC's appalling performance in this year's local government election.

As we bid farewell to an exciting election euphoria, there could not be a better time to remind those elected to take interest into the wishes of their constituencies and deliver on the promises made. But most importantly, to see every vote in their favour as a truce to which they ought to keep their end of the bargain. It just might restore the people's confidence in the ANC.

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