Malema is a far better politician than Ramphele

2013-11-18 13:58

I run the risk of being lampooned for saying this, but Julius Malema is in many respects a far better politician than Mamphela Ramphele. Not only is he a sleek unqualified political strategic planner, he knows how to give "big players" or rather those who assume they are, a run for their money.

When Mamphela announced that she would be launching a political party platform early this year, she gave the media, academics, university students and anyone who perceives him/herself an elite of some sort something to chat about at Galla Dinners and talks shops. As expected, prominent faces in academia and the business sector took to centre stage and showered her with bucket-loads of praises. "Finally, an academic, successful businesswoman and somebody with a CV the size of the bible will be bringing some substance into the South African realm of realpolitik", I can imagine them whispering to themselves.

Sadly, they had forgotten one important factor, that in South Africa politics is about what you can offer, not what you have. Mamphela's AgangSA can only prosper and have a significant impact in a South Africa built on John Stuart Mills' neo-liberal principles of a constitutional democracy. Mill, in his Considerations on Representative Government advocated for and defended the position of intellectuals as "superior" beings in society.

To further entrench this view, Mill advocated a scheme for weighted voting. This meant that although all qualified voters had a democratic right to be heard, those who were mentally superior (intellectuals) could be allowed to cast more than one vote. Basically, what this means is that in the type of government desired by Mill, a Dr. Mamphela Ramphele would be allowed to cast more than one ballot and a Julius Malema only one ballot, if not nothing at all. However, since this is not the case, AgangSA has pretty much rendered itself irrelevant.

What makes Malema a better player than his liberal counterpart, is that he is able to exploit areas in the political space which have not been sufficiently explored by others. When AgangSA comes and presents itself as nothing but a replica of the Democratic Alliance, only with a genuine black face. The Economic Freedom Fighters come and confront issues the ANC and all other political parties have failed to face head on. When Mamphela travels around the country going to universities and business gatherings in a quest to rally support behind her party. Malema goes to townships, villages and squatter camps to win the hearts of the frustrated and desperate and most importantly, the media. Malema is offering, while Mamphela is showing off.

Any sober political commentator would tell you that some of the middle and most of the upper classes are not anything to vouch on when it comes to winning at the polls. They simply don't vote! AgangSA lacks the political competitive edge, and as result have found themselves running at the heels of Malema's EFF.

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