The Tripartite Paradox

2015-07-17 17:29

South Africa was once a nation of empathetic people coming together to fight against injustice, toward a common goal. 21 years later, both old and new wounds resurface yet, the sense of togetherness and compassion is lost. Was the benevolence a farce or have South Africans just given up?

Communities have transformed into self-concerned individuals; kindness has been replaced with greed and the love South Africans once had for one another is slowly manifesting to hate. An economy that has the ability to be abundant and peaceful has become a competitive warzone that can make or break ones development and independence.

While this can turn into a heated and offensive racial debate quite quickly, it is important to acknowledge that South Africans are now divided by a lot more than just skin colour. The confusion surrounding the tripartite alliance echoes the ambivalence amongst the people. Deciphering between who supports who, and why, emphasises the existence of a plethora of factions due to our individually tailored motives.

But is it really that easy for everyone to get along?

As the tripartite alliance likes us to believe, an alliance between the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and our democratically elected ruling party (ANC) get along just fine. However, a general look at South African indicators shows a somewhat different outlook.

Even theoretically; an alliance between a communist party (which the SACP isn’t even really), the working class and the (somewhat) business driven ruling party, makes little sense. Despite the dazzling façade the alliance leaders have created, actual on-the-ground development is not as easy to fake. The bickering within the alliance over policies since 1996 has halted any significant implementation. Since the adoption of the National Development Plan by the ANC, the internal backlash from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) hindered any progress.

Yet, at the end of the day, in the midst of high levels of unemployment and Marikana, the SACP and COSATU stand wholeheartedly behind the ANC. The interests of leaders and political affiliates have become of more importance than the people these leaders claim to stand for. The South African public is then put in a position of picking the least corrupt party to stand behind.

The gigantic contradiction, that is the tripartite alliance today, has divided a nation that once stood firmly together, into factions of; workers against businesses and, against all those who are still waiting for the Mandela legacy to actually begin.

This inability to come to a clear consensus, within the alliance and the people, stagnates the growth and development altogether. The political strength of the alliance, despite their paradoxes, makes it difficult for the public to stand behind the injustices of workers and forcibly creates divisions.

The socialist versus economic growth ideologies can no longer work hand in hand, especially in a country where dire inequality is expanding. If those representing the people refuse to acknowledge this, how can the millions of South Africans utilise their empathy and unite towards a shared legacy?

It is imperative to understand that any ideology has flaws. Realising this, it is also clear that the struggles for a decent education, living wage and even housing is still a momentous challenge to millions of South Africans. The only way forward is a new ideology of putting REAL people and REAL issues ahead of abstract entities such as economic growth.

The only way to achieve sustainable long term productivity is through providing a decent standard of living to everyone. Mandela’s legacy was built on the Freedom Charter, a communist vision, which reflects neither the views of the SACP nor the tripartite alliance as a whole. The history of communism is a touchy one and its effects have been misconstrued for years.

Perhaps it is time for a 21st century revamp of communism. Re-emerge a culture of interconnectedness and bring power back to the people. The only drawback being a trustworthy leader to fill the position…

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