Blacks won’t vote DA in 2014

2013-11-03 21:56

South Africans generally are largely emotionally attached to their preferred political parties which they choose to vote for at the polls. We also tend to be emotional when we debate issues instead of looking at the facts that are starring at us. A politics discussion about the different parties in SA is mostly based on speculation and wishful thinking.  We don’t really bother to exam the actual facts, statistics and data.  The Democratic Alliance (DA) under the leadership of Helen Zille hopes to get 30% share of the vote and also hopes to win Gauteng in the 2014 general elections.

Successes of the DA

During the first democratic elections in 1994 the then Democratic Party (DP) managed to get only 1.7 percentage share equaling 338,426 votes. It was the fifth largest party then,even the Vryheidsfront / Freedom Front (VF/FF) had more votes than the DP. Fast forward to 2009 the newly re-branded and re-launched Democratic Alliance (DA) scoops 16.7 percent share of the vote with 2,945,829 votes making the second largest party in SA. The DA has managed to be the party of choice for the majority of white South Africans and has tapped into the coloured population.  We can safely say that the DA has white and coloured voters on “lock-down” as it has successfully managed to consolidate these voting constituencies.

DA would bring back apartheid

We all know that the DA would not bring back apartheid if it came into power but the reality on the ground and belief is that if a white person like Helen Zille were to be in power they would bring back apartheid. This is a perception that prevails in the black community. We all know that a majority black people are impoverished in SA because of white people and policies implemented by the apartheid government. Black people might have forgiven what the architects of apartheid did to them but they certainly have not forgotten how life was under the leadership of a white person. Hence it will always be a challenge for the DA to attract the 11,6 million voters who voted for the ANC in the 2009 general elections. The DA might be able to attract about 500 000 black voters but not in their millions.

You cannot declare that SA is now non-racial; even though the ANC is failing blacks and expect the majority of blacks to vote for a white president; when whites for the previous 300+ years subjugated blacks. There is a trust deficit and blacks simply do not trust a white person. Apartheid was a crime against humanity as voted on and adopted by the United Nations.

Failure of DA leadership transformation

The DA has failed to transform in the last 20 years of democracy post apartheid to have a black leader. The DA is sticking to its apartheid mindset and stereotypes and insisting on a white person as leader. The DA is very naive and presumptuous to think it will make a huge dent on the ANC when it has failed to identify a suitable black leader. They had a chance to choose Joe Seramane when Tony Leon vacated his leadership position, but opted to stick to their comfort zone and voted for a white leader. By not electing a black person to lead; the DA is signaling to the blacks in SA that they do not believe that a black person can run their party, let alone the country.

If the DA really wants to get far and attract many black African voters; it will need to create more and more black African political heavyweights within its ranks. The DA has dreams of wining Gauteng outright. This will remain NOTHING but a pipedream as the odds are stacked up against them. The reality in SA is that people vote based on identity and race. The DA is still a largely white party hence it will not make as many gains in Gauteng as it did in the Western Cape.

Gauteng Population Racial Profile According to Census 2011:

·         Black African: 77.4%

·         White: 15.6%

·         Coloured: 3.5%

·         Indian or Asian: 2.9%

Western Cape Population Racial Profile According to Census 2011:

·         Coloured: 48.8%

·         Black African: 32.8%

·         White: 15.7%

·         Indian or Asian: 1.0%

The greatest hurdle that the DA needs to climb is the one relating to race. The racial profile in the Western Cape has always been a challenge to the ANC hence post 1994 it has always been easy for the DA to snatch the Western Cape away from the ANC. The Western Cape was a previous strong hold of the National Party (NP). Even in the 1994 elections the ANC could not win the Western Cape and the National Party was in control of that province.

But Gauteng is a completely different ball game as this has always been the ANC’s stronghold province. Racial politics of course worked in the ANC’s favour in the past elections. The ANC has always struggled with convincing the coloured community to vote for them but that is not the case in Gauteng. Almost 80% of Gautengers are black Africans so by virtue of this; the DA which is a party founded on white monopoly capital principles will have a hard time trying to wrestle away such a province from the ANC.

Using e-tolls to win black voters

The DA wants to make the e-tolls an election issue. I am afraid that is NOT the right strategy to deter voters away from the ANC to the DA. A typical ANC voter might agree with 7 out of the 10 policies that the ANC has, but this doesn’t mean that an ANC voter would suddenly switch their vote from the ANC to DA because they are disgruntled with the “e-tolls” issue for example. The e-tolls are not enough, there needs to be more for a change in voting patterns to happen! That is what the DA is failing to grasp.

Majority of black South Africans, including the “clever blacks” can hardly identify with the DA. To an ordinary black South African on the street, the FF+/VF+, NP and DA/DP are one and the same. They are all led by a white person therefore represent a very dark past that we as the majority black people haven’t forgotten about and still suffer from. An issue with the DA tends to forget is that voting and politics in SA is mostly about identity and race. Blacks were oppressed because of their identity and race; hence this will always feature when we cast our votes.

A party like EFF, Agang SA or even COPE has a better chance of “stealing” ANC voters than the DA ever will. Yes, the DA might be able to get a minority of the “clever blacks” and some poor black voters but that will never be enough for them to gain control of Gauteng, let alone the country for that matter. The DA still remains a white party for the elite and for monopoly white capital. Twenty years after apartheid, this country's racial and economic architecture remains unchanged. White South Africans still own much of the wealth of this country and the economy. Black South Africans, apart from the narrow black elite (tenderprenuers), largely remain in poverty. The fact of the matter is that the scars of apartheid are still so fresh, so real and we see them every single day of our lives.

To put it succinctly, black South Africans shall continue to support the ANC or any other black party than to cast their votes next to a “white face!” Black people, who are unhappy with the ANC, will cast a “protest vote” against the ANC but sure as hell it won’t go to the DA. The “protest vote” will most likely go to EFF or Agang SA. The ANC is not at all threatened by the DA, they are more concerned about EFF and Agang hence they have been disrupting EFF and Agang rallies and meetings.

Social grants associated with a black led government

About 16 million South Africans live on social grants which are administered by SASSA. There are currently 6 social grants which include grant for older persons; disability grant; war veterans grant; care dependency grant; foster child grant; and child support grant. Contrary to popular belief these social grants are used resourcefully and effectively by their recipients. There are numerous studies that attest to the fact that these grants help to alleviate poverty. I have lived in a township for a good 18 years of my life and the DA cannot even begin to comprehend how important these social grants are in terms what they do to alleviate poverty in the township and rural villages. I have lived through poverty and do not just read about poverty or watched poverty on TV.  Ordinary people in the township cannot differentiate between a black led government and the ANC. They honestly and genuinely believe that the ANC is giving them these grants and if they were to vote for a white party they would not receive these grants. They honestly don’t trust that Hellen Zille would give them the money which they currently receive on a monthly basis. This is because during apartheid most of these grants did not exist when a white person was in power.

DA’s black membership remains unproven

The DA likes claiming that it is the most diverse party in South Africa and insists that the majority of its members are black. But this cannot be proven scientifically and merely based on anecdotal evidence.  DA’s national spokesperson, Mmusi Maimane is quoted saying: “DA rallies are almost always attended by a majority of black supporters. At our Federal Congress last year, most attendees were black (each branch sends representatives based on their size to Federal Congress to vote on congress resolutions and new leadership). Hence, a diverse Federal Congress implies that we are a diverse party.”

He further attended that, “We are not able to determine how many of our members are ‘black’ since we do not track the race of our members.” This proves that the DA still remains a largely party representing minority interest with a few blacks here and there to add some colour to the mix in order to create smokes and mirrors. The DA recruits black to come join the party and vote them while other parties like black parties like EFF have people who voluntarily want to come and join and ask for membership forms.

Final thoughts

In any normally democracy when citizens are unhappy with the incumbent government they vote for the opposition party. But this is not the case in South Africa as black people prefer to go out in the streets, burn tyres, burn down buildings and damage government property than to vote for the DA. If race were not a factor and if black people saw the DA as an alternative they would not blockade roads and hold the country to ransom if their needs were not met. They would simply go out and vote for the opposition party being the DA. But no, black South Africans prefer to protest against service delivery and burn things than to vote DA. At times blacks prefer to withhold their vote by staying at home instead of voting the DA if they are not happy with the ANC like it happened in Khutsong a couple of years ago. That is a sad indictment on the DA and proves that we as black people hate the DA and have no faith or trust in them. No sane black person in South Africa who lived through apartheid would ever put a cross next to a party on the ballot paper that reads: “Democratic Alliance/Demokratiese Alliansie (DA).” Afrikaans to us as black people is a symbol of oppression and the oppressor’s language. It is only Vryheidsfront Plus and the  Demokratiese Alliansie that insist on having English and Afrikaans on the ballot paper. Young black people were fighting against being taught in Afrikaans in 1976 and died for this.

We are a young democracy we still have bleeding wounds of yesteryear, seeing any skin that’s not black in political power scares us as black people. Hence 1.3 million South Africans voted for COPE instead of the DA in the 2009 general elections. That COPE vote could have well been a “protest vote” against the ANC. In its current form the DA will NEVER win the general elections, hence some ANC members confidently say, “ANC will rule South Africa until Jesus/Julius comes.” South Africa needs a strong, black and credible opposition sadly the DA is not the answer. The DA needs to dissolve and be swallowed by COPE, EFF or Agang SA and have a BLACK African leader. It matters not how well Helen Zille or Athol Trollip speak IsiXhosa and dance to all Brenda Fassie’s songs; the black majority still doesn’t trust a white person to be given political power. You cannot win elections unless you have the majority of black South Africans supporting you.

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