Race in South African politics matters.

2014-04-19 23:08

Voting is a selfish act to many, including me and I believe it shouldn't. When voting you must ask yourself what the party will do for you and others. It continues to be important to check any party's profile, its past, present and a possible future.

Sparked by a Blogger who tagged me in this platform concerned about my obsession with racializing politics as the ANC does, I decided to opine this.

I must admit, I see race in every aspect of the South African society. This is largely because of our past and the present that is defined by attempts of redressing imbalances caused by our past. Race in South Africa is in your face, you just can't ignore it.

It would be naïve of me to think race in South Africa no longer matters. Anyone who doesn't see that race matters in South Africa is very ignorant.

Luckily, both the DA and the ANC have a past.

The DA backtracks its roots in from the 1970s as the Progressive Party, the Progressive Reform Party and the Progressive Federal Party led by Helen Suzman. It later became the Democratic Party in the 1990s and became DA after it merged with the New National Party and Federal Alliance in 2000.

So DA's history start from 1970 and has served in Parliament since. DA is proud of this history, a visit to its website and its latest Know Your DA campaign proves this. DA prides itself for leaders like Helen Suzman, Harry Schwarz,Zach de Beer, Jan Steytler, Colin Eglin the list goes on.

If then the current DA owns up to this past and flaunts its past leaders to influence us voters, we should use the same past to question ourselves if we should vote for it.

We must ask why the DA then (PP, PF) served in an undemocratic apartheid parliament that passed laws to oppress blacks and segregate them in their "own" spaces ?

Who elected it to be in that apartheid parliament, was it all South Africans on the bases of one man one vote ?

Why did the National Party not see the DA as a threat to its power ?

I mean, if the ANC was banned by the National Party for being opposition to its apartheid laws and threat to its reign why wasn't the DA also banned ?

Wasn't it because it wasn't a real threat ?

When it came to advocating for Blacks to Vote, the DA said only the "educated" should vote.

Knowing only few blacks were educated, how did the DA think apartheid was going to end by giving "few blacks" the right to vote ?

Many in the DA won't want to answer these question. They will opt to deny this part of history while using the profile of Helen Suzan who served as an MP in an undemocratic parliament that was the engine of oppression. A clear display of hypocrisy and acts of double standards.

The writer of that Blog Thabo wrote his blog after my Tweet

"It pains me to see the DA opposing policies that seeks to empower blacks, what's more painful is when blacks defend it"

It would be interesting to know how he would answer the above questions.

The DA as I said has a history, it also has a present.

The now DA as I tweeted opposes all policies that seeks to redress past imbalances without solid explanation but cheap politics of their opposition stance.

While blacks in South Africa have political power they remain economic power bankrupt.

Without even providing stats of a South African reality we know too well, blacks remain one race group with the highest unemployment and highest poverty rates.

Recent Employment Equity stats show Whites still dominate the South African economy with more than 63% of top management post with blacks at the bottom with 19%.

When the ANC tries to redress this DA cries reversed apartheid.

Its because of its opposition to black empowerment stances that Nelson Mandela said

"...the Democratic Party (DA), has no policy differences with the NP, it has sought to position itself as an implacable enemy of the ANC, and on this basis, to try to convince the supporters of the National Party to switch their allegiance to itself…

…it therefore has no choice but itself to adopt reactionary positions aimed at protecting the privileges of the constituency it is struggling to secure for itself...”

Thabo Mbeki would on the other hand say

"All this rejection (of transformation policies) confirms the success the DA has achieved in defining itself as essentially a white party, an objective it pursued when it decided to replace the National Party as an authentic representative of white conservative tendencies in our national life"

Both Mandela and Mbeki were talking about the DA of the present reacting to the positions it takes to legislation the Democratic parliament oversees.

From both Mandela and Mbeki one sees the DA present is not attractive, also its past. When deciding to Vote for DA one should also considers these.

A mistake that many DA voters make is thinking that ANC voters only vote for it for its past.

Thabo also falls into this trap, successfully acknowledging ANC's past while failing to acknowledge its complete present. He like many who are opposition to ANC only highlights the negative side of the present ANC but fails to acknowledge the positive.

Correctly so, growing tendencies of corruption, maladministration and all government shortcomings are concerning. But here too there is a good story.

Some 20 years, corruption was constitutionally entrenched, the apartheid regime in its entirely was corruption. Today, we have one race group that unduly benefited from it and still is.

That corruption went unnoticed as there was no institution like the Public Protector set up to fight it. If we were not in a democracy it would go unnoticed, like it did in apartheid years.

Like any story, ANC's has both the negative and the positive. Its up to us voters then to decide which outweighs which.

I come from a very poor rural community. There was a time when we didn't have Electricity, Water, Clinics or proper schools. All those have changed, not for me but for many South Africans.

I'm a beneficiary of Social Grants that bought food so I don't go to school hungry. And bought electricity so I don't do my home work of a free education I pay no fees for in the dark.

After matric, an Affirmative Action UCT based admission policy gave me access to the institution we know call "previously white". My three year stay at the institution was billed on government.

To date, over 1.4 Million students like me have benefited from this, all thanks to the tax-payers and a government that put the tax-money into good use, investing in education.

Results of this showed in 2012 when for the first time in South Africa the number of black student graduating from University exceeded that of whites which should be something that has been happening for years in a country dominated by them.

Recently, a US Investment Company gave a detailed report of what the government has done since 1994.

In 1994 the country was bankrupt, it had no reserves and the debt to GDP was at 50% and very little people were paying tax.

"In April 1994, the South African economy literally had junk status," so said the Goldman Sachs Report.

Since that status, the South African economy doubled. The size of the black middle class doubled in the period 1993-2008.

The growth of this middle class the Report credits to BEE and Affirmative action attempts of widening participation in the economy and growing the number of black graduates. It is these policies the DA rejects.

The number of South Africans living below the poverty line went from 70% to 61%, while those above the line but below the middle-class ranking initially held steady at 22% before rising to 24%, suggesting that the billions poured into social net programmes such as Grants are keeping people from starvation.

I'm not giving a report of my own, there are many successes of government I can quote. My point is, South Africans who vote for ANC are not only doing so because of its liberation struggle before 1994, its also because of what it has done since in government.

So no Thabo my friend, we're not only voting ANC because of its liberation struggle past only.

I really don't find it hard to understand why white South Africans Vote DA. It protects their interests which are a an economy insulated from state's involvement, an economy that remains in their hands.

Most whites don't understand the need for redress so that's why they Vote DA because, like them, it rejects Affirmative Action and BEE. Policies that our constitution supports under the tag of "positive discrimination".

So a white person has more to smile about browsing DA policies than a black person.

But I still don't understand why blacks would Vote DA and defend it yet throughout its years from PP to DP to DA name changes and mergers it has positioned itself as a white minority party.

Its amazing that whenever you ask a black DA voter why they vote for it they will tell you how much they hate the ANC but fail in providing reasons for them as blacks at to why they vote DA. Like my friend did on his blog here.

Like many, he was unable to provide reasons without mentioning the ANC.

He is voting for DA because the ANC to him is bad, but he fails to show how the DA will be good to him in future. And fails to highlight its past because its not as shiny as he and many in the DA would like it to be.

Selfishly Thabo, can you just give me one DA policy, not a flip-flopping

that recognizes past imbalances and shows how it will redress them in the future.

Follow @EsethuHasane kwiTwitter where everyone is an Expert in everything they know nothing about, fruits of freedom of expression in great display.

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