Who To Vote For? (ANC/ DA/ EFF)

2014-01-23 05:04

Elections are coming up. Happy are those who know without a doubt who their vote goes to. I reckon the most confused voters right now, must be the historically ANC loyal voters.

I expect that the top 3 parties after the coming elections will be ANC, DA and EFF. Here’s my thinking on why I would or wouldn’t vote for each of these.

African National Congress ("ANC")

The party that ushered in political freedom and democracy. Those of us who still have scars of apartheid tend to have this sentimental and emotional connection to the ANC. So much that it becomes a challenge to disown a party that you’ve become so attached to.

This sentimental connection carries with it a degree of Trust. People ‘trust’ that the ANC has their best interest at heart. I mean, if the leaders gave up their lives for the struggle, for freedom, how am I supposed to believe that all of a sudden they no longer give a damn about the goodwill of the very people they fought for?

But maybe that’s exactly it. Maybe the leaders who were there during the struggle are no more. Maybe the current crop of leaders believe they have attained political freedom for the people, now it’s their turn to be rewarded economically.

I love the ANC. I love most of their policies. I appreciate most of the initiatives that have been introduced since 1994 to better the lives of the people. I honestly believe that the policies and initiatives were put in place with the good of the people in mind. I believe the ANC is the most in touch with the needs of the people on the ground – I’d say the ANC understands the people more than other political parties.

However, I shudder at the level of corruption, lack of integrity and poor governance in those entrusted with leadership. I’m bewildered at the lack of professionalism from those tasked with service to the people. Today, lack of service delivery is less about lack of resources, but more about the lack of the right people to carry out the tasks. There is no accountability, no sense of professionalism, no apparent repercussions for poor service in the public sector. Not to mention the prevailing ‘cadre deployment’ phenomena.

The absolute power of the ANC in parliament also makes it difficult for opposition parties and other organs of State to hold them accountable: what the ANC decides stands, what the ANC decides against, falls.

These are just some of the things that make me wonder whether the ANC is still the one.

Democratic Alliance ("DA")

Often seen as the voice of reason. The alternative to the ANC. Seen as the epitome of what good governance in government is supposed to be; what commitment to service is supposed to be like.

These attributes are the reasons the DA manages to increase its support base election after election. That is why I believe they deserve to be the ruling party in the Western Cape - which has rightly given them a lot of bragging rights.

However, there are one or two things that work against them as far as the electorate is concerned. ON the ANC above, I spoke about the sentimental connection as well as Trust. And these 2 are missing in the DA – at least for the masses. Most people cannot connect with the Party at an emotional level. No trust. Maybe it’s because of the perception that it is a ‘white party’ – which is the view of many, despite attempts by the party to change that perception. That ‘Know Your DA’ campaign was about creating that sentimental connection with the masses - but did it work? I’m not sure how many converts resulted from that campaign. Instead, it mostly helped those who already support the DA to better defend their position and give them that warm fuzzy feeling: “See, this is why I support the DA”.

Recently, there was that first ever DA policy conference and the ‘Black Caucus’ which called for the DA to be clearer on its redress policies. That is just one of the reasons that make the party appear to be a ‘white party’ trying hard to accommodate black people.

For example, the DA has for some time been unclear about its position on BEE and Affirmative Action. As a young black person, who has benefited from AA myself, I believe it’s still relevant and has value to add for others after me. So the uncertainty in this respect would make one shy away from the DA – despite their so called good credentials on governance.

Business Day columnist, Johny Steinberg, made the following comment on the DA’s lack of clarity on redress policies “If the DA fails, the precariously middle class will fall back on a love-hate relationship with the ANC. They will despise it for its corruption and its pomp. But they will love it because it understands.”

Following the policy conference in 2013, the DA finally adopted policies in support of BBBEE, AA and other forms of redress – however, I find myself wondering if I can put much reliance on these – will the implementation of the policy be as active as it has been under the ANC government? Or, those tasked with its implementation are secretly against it anyway?

Again, the DA has a Land Reform policy – but most DA supporters hate even the mention of ‘land redistribution’ – the subject stirs up all kinds of racist insults towards black people (look at responses on any articles on this subject). So the DA may have the right policy, but I don’t necessarily trust them or that those who support the DA actually buy into those policies - so again, there may be an issue with implementation.

See, the issue of no emotional connection with the party as well as lack of ‘trust’.

Economic Freedom Fighters ("EFF")

I’m sure someone does not understand how I can even include Julius Malema’s political club in this top 3.

The main reason I wouldn’t vote for the EFF is because I don’t trust its leader, Julius Malema. He has been involved or implicated in a lot of corruption, selfish pursuits, greediness and misleading the people. I don’t trust him.

So why EFF? Well, I believe what the EFF is bringing to the table is very much welcome. They are making the right noise. Raising the right debates. Tackling the right issues which no one wants to. The 2 main things the EFF is pushing for: Nationalisation of Mines and Expropriation of Land, (calm down).

On Nationalisation of Mines, I’ve always thought this is at least worth a debate; we can’t just turn a blind eye in the name of peace and reconciliation. So I applauded the ANCYL when they raised this previously. But, this debate has been raised before; a study was commissioned and the conclusion was that it is not feasible for the State to nationalise mines. I thought, case closed.

I’m not sure why the EFF believe this is still worth pursuing. What are the real intentions behind this ideal? Is it for the betterment of the people? The mining sector accounts for less than 10% of SA GDP – so I fail to understand why focusing on this small part of the economy is that much important for economic freedom of South Africans. Nonetheless, I believe the people should be benefitting more from the mineral riches of the land – but I don’t necessarily believe nationalisation is the right way.

Next, EFF talks of Land Reform – more appropriately, land expropriation. Now Land Reform is not something that is just worth the debate. It must happen. As for how it happens, is another story. I don’t necessarily agree with the EFF’s call that it must be ‘without compensation’, but also I don’t believe compensation should be market related or in the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ policy that has been unsuccessfully employed by the ANC up to now.

So, for now suffice to say, kudos to the EFF for pushing this important agenda and more others.

Conclusion:

So it seems for each party, there would be reasons for and against voting the party – whether those reasons are tangible or sentimental is irrelevant – fact is, these reasons inform the voting decisions of many South Africans.

What election results would I be happy with:

ANC – the ANC should and will win the national election. I think they should win with a majority of around 55% (65.9% in 2009) - just enough to ensure majority, but without too much power - the ANC can’t be allowed a 2 thirds majority again. I believe ANC policies are still relevant for the people, but the leadership needs a lot of oversight, so they can’t have too much power.

Maybe being at the verge of losing power, will serve to keep the leadership in check: we have to deliver or else.

DA – the DA must maintain and increase their stronghold in the Western Cape – I’d be interested to see continuity and how the man on the street ultimately benefits from good policies & governance.

Moreover, I’d like the DA to take over the Gauteng province. This is the economic hub of the country. Johannesburg is the heartbeat of the SA economy – if this City could be governed with the utmost level of integrity and good governance, the spoils would spill over and be felt by the rest of the country. Gauteng/Jhb can’t afford to have poor healthcare service, unreliable power/ billing problems, unacceptable user-pay infrastructures, questionable leadership, qualified audit reports, high unemployment rates, etc. So, I say let’s see what ‘Maimane and Friends’ can do.

The DA should get about 25-30% of the national votes (16.7% in 2009).

EFF – Now, I don’t believe the EFF deserve to be in power anywhere, whether nationally, provincially or even locally. But they are making the right noises – and we need this noise in government. So, I want to see EFF in parliament – and that’s all they should get from the coming elections – representation in parliament. I want the EFF to have a proper platform to present and debate these critical issues – and let’s see how far they can go in spurring Parliament into action.

Let the EFF to get a fair result from the elections – say 7-10%.

COPE, FF+, UDM, PA, IFP, the rest – Eish… this article is too long already.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *    *    *

What do you think? What would be your ideal, realistic outcome from the elections?

Happy voting comrades. You can catch me on twitter @xolanik

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