ANC is arrogant brigade might be correct but its also ignorant

2016-08-19 14:00

The brigade that claims the ANC is arrogant might be correct in its conclusion but its also very ignorant to say the least. Its analysis of the recent local government elections starts and ends at one point and this is where the problem lies.

The ANC came out the most bruised in these local government elections though winning over 160 municipalities to DA's 19 and EFF 0. When the giant that is the ANC hurts and bleeds the ants around it feast on its blood and are declared victors. This speaks to the expectations the people have on it.

I have been fortunate to travel around the country during the local government elections. From taxi ranks to train stations, from door to door to churches we interacted with many people who were extremely unhappy and saw no reason to vote and we sought to convince them to do otherwise.

In Port Elizabeth one old man said he won't vote because the street light next to his house has never worked since 1994. An old woman pointed at a ceiling that was leaking saying the metro installed a geyser that never worked but is ruining her roof. One man on the same street spoke of how the municipality did not help a family that was burnt down in a shack fire.

In some instances there were streets that were blocked by ANC members to prevent campaigning in their area because they were not happy with ANC list process. We visited a church in PE, and leadership was prevented entry because, well, the preferred choice by the church was not on the ANC list. The Pastor threatened if this isn't fixed - he will tell his congregation to vote otherwise.

This was the same case across most all metros. ANC people declared that they won't be voting.

In Tshwane the people of Plastic View informal settlements said they will not vote because they heard the city will remove them from their informal settlement without giving them land. Now how do you ease these fears when few weeks before elections the city used Red Ants to evict poor people not so far from plastic view?

How is it that a black government led city can send a Red Ant worker - paid R100 a day - to remove a poor person like him?

That pitting of blacks against each other resulted in death. A red ant worker died - killed by informal settlement dwellers.

You put people through that pain and then come back to ask them to vote you back in the office that you used to chase them away from their land.

The issue of title deeds was across the country ; many people in most areas complained about the title deeds not being issued. So while they were thankful of the RDP house they got, they were uncertain if they really own the house.

Remember when City of Joburg evicted poor street venders? Poor people were harassed by JMPD and a court had to intervene and stop that. People made fun of ANC supporters from Soweto who wore ANC T-shirts and went to protest at the City offices and at Eskom against electricity meters. The strike by Pick-it up left the City stinking for days -

People were watching - people did not forget.

What still lingers on my mind is a graduate that came running with his CV outlining how many qualification he has and his struggle to get a job. Leadership sympathised and promised things will change. I guessed he has heard that many times because there was nothing that put him to ease.

So this was the same case across all the places we visited. Young people crying of joblessness with mothers pleading with leadership for their kids to get jobs. Promises were made but this was not the first time. All these people have heard all those promises before.

The "ANC is arrogant" brigade ignore all these small but significant issues that contributed to township people not going to vote. Rather it starts and ends its analysis on President Zuma.

So while we speak of ANC arrogance - correctly so that must be made clear. We must also talk about the arrogance of the middle class.

Debates around ANC's loss has been laggy credited to the middle class. This assumes that its only the black middle class that did not pitch up at the polls. This could not be further from the truth but signifies how the middle class position in society and its proximity to better social mobility allows it to claim victories.

Let's not undermine the intelligence of a black person; rural or urban. They might be in different social classes but their struggles are identical and are interlinked.

Let me slightly go offtrack and address another issue that has been one of the hot topics in these election debates. That black people are now finding DA as favourable.

When a black person says political parties like the DA will bring back apartheid, it's not because they imagined apartheid as it were - the DA would never be able to bring it back as it was. All of us would simply not allow it.

Fact of the matter though is that in a country with structural inequality which by the way isn't a creation of the ANC - but a challenge it's been faced with and struggled ( can even say failed to fight ) the DA is not a party that would be best positioned to fight and win that war.

This is a party that long existed before our democracy, was opposition in a apartheid parliament, wasn't banned or exiled like other revolutionary movements - nor were its leaders ever arrested. Instead, by activity participating in an apartheid parliament, they gave it longevity and legitimised it.

And when revolutionary movements called for economic sanctions its leaders went on an international campaign against them.

With that all said - let us also correct some misconceptions about these elections.

IEC electoral stats show that while DA traditional voter bases which are largely white had turn outs of over 70%+ in the polls, the ANC voter bases, largely black had less than 55%.

Rather than voting, black people chose to abstain. Those who went to vote cast their [X] to the ANC and EFF and other smaller parties.

This would be best shown by Thswane results where ANC got 53% in 2011 elections but now only got percentages in the 40s with EFF getting 11%. Combine that, ANC gets same support it did in 2011 before the existence of EFF - just a few percentages less.

And no, again, the thinking that the black middle class is somewhat the better kind of black and sees the DA as a saviour is wrong and unfounded.

We have always accused the black middle class or the youth to be disconnected from reality. That they have apathy and not interested in the affairs of the country. The very fact that Fees Must Fall was led by the youth in university who happen to be just few years ahead of being called "middle class" shows how terribly wrong we were.

The Black Middle class - has been created by the policies of this government. But has its own struggles. It's been created and neglected and constantly has to substitute government services with their own pockets. It can't be nice when you send kids to private school, go to private hospitals, hire security because the gov is not able to provide equal if not better services to the private ones. And black Tax is there: again, it can't be nice when you become a government to your family providing what government should be providing.

So when the Youth and Black Middle class abstains and doesn't go to vote - it's not because they've suddenly thought the DA is the answer.

It's a signal sent to the ANC that it must serve its purpose. The DA remains a racist party that won't ever be able to bring back apartheid but will ensure that the structural and systematic economic and social engineerings designed by the apartheid government to ensure the black person never succeeds remain intact.

The fact that a party that won only 19 municipalities VS. ANC's 161 is celebrated shows how high the expectations people hold for ANC. People hold such high expectations because they hold the ANC dearly - even when it succeeds with huge blows we still demand more from it.

@EsethuHasane writes in his personal capacity

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