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Archive for the tag “EFF”

Election 2019: Who can one vote for?

Some time later this year there is to be a general election in South Africa. With our proportional representation system we have a large variety of parties to choose from — some say over 200 — which will make the ballot paper look more like a book — yet it has never been more difficult to choose. As one friend wrote on Facebook this morning:

Being a person with quite clear opinions, I never thought I could be classified as an undecided voter. But that’s where I am as elections loom.

And most of the comments on that took a similar line.

I see no point in voting for a small party that is unlikely to get at least 0.25% of the vote — that’s what is needed to get one member of parliament. Anything less than that and the party will not be represented in parliament at all. So it has to be one of the bigger parties. In some previous elections I’ve chosen by a process of elimination — which of the bigger parties is least objectionable.

Here are my thoughts this time around.

The ANC

Quite a lot of people have been saying that since Cyril Ramaphosa has replaced Jacob Zuma  as president of the ANC the Zuptas are in decline, but a poor showing in the election  will make Ramaphosa look bad and strengthen the hand of the Zuptas, therefore one should vote for the ANC to strengthen Ramaphosa’s hand. and enable him to deal with the Zuptas.

My inclination is to wait and see who is on the party list. A lot of prominent politicians have been fingered by the Zondo and other commissions as having been involved in corruption on a massive scale, and stealing public funds. If any of those people are on the ANC party list, I’m not voting for the ANC. It’s no use playing the “innocent until proved guilty” card — I’m not voting on their guilt or innocence, I’m voting for who I want to represent me in parliament, and I don’t want those people to do so. So that’s a relatively simple criterion.

The DA

I haven’t even considered voting for the DA since Tony Leon’s “Gatvol” and “Fight back” campaign of 1999. Admittedly that was the Democratic Party, which later united with the rump of the right of the National Party to form the Democratic Alliance (the left of the National Party joined the ANC).

In 2003 we had a municipal by-election, in which the choice was between the right, the far right, the super right, the hyper right and the ultra right. I considered not voting, then thought that Willie “stem reg, bly weg” Marais of the HNP would take a non-vote as a vote for him, so I went along and parked up the road from the polling station. As I got out of the car my right arm was grabbed by a burly gentleman from the Conservative Party and my left arm by an equally burly gentleman from the DA, each of whom was assuring me that his party was the only one that could “Stop the ANC”. I wanted to ask “Stop the ANC from doing what?” but I feared that if I did so I would be there all afternoon, and i just wanted to vote and go home. There was in any case no ANC candidate in our ward. None of the parties or candidates said anything about their vision for the City of Tshwane. The only thing they claimed was that they would be better than any of the others at “Stopping the ANC”. I want in and voted for the only independent on the ballot paper. I didn’t know what he stood for either, but at least he wasn’t a party hack.

As far as I can see the DA just wants to stop the ANC. If the ANC does something bad, they’ll try to stop it (but the EFF was more effective at that). And if the ANC does something good, they’ll try to stop that too. Their policy is simply to “Stop the ANC.” It’s entirely negative., at least in the public image they try to cultivate.

And then there is this: Herman Mashaba, the DA Mayor of Johannesburg, writes in An open letter of apology to all South Africans | News24:

We had witnessed how an oppressive government had been defeated by the people of our country. It was a magical moment.

With this belief, I voted for the ANC in 1994 and 1999.

For this, I offer my most profound apology.

Well I too voted for the ANC in 1994 and 1999, and I see no reason at all to apologise for doing so. I believed then, and I still believe now, that it was the best party to vote for at that time. It wasn’t perfect by any means, and I had plenty of complaints about it (the arms deal, abandonment of the RDP and more). But voting for it then did not turn it into what it became after December 2007. To Herman Mashaba I say Bah! Humbug.

The EFF

The Economic Freedom Fighters, like the DA, are largely negative. You know what they are against, but when you ask what they are for, the story is tailored to what they think the particular audience wants to hear. They gained quite a lot of support when Zuma was president, and I think their vociferous opposition was more effective than the DA’s whinging. They exposed a lot of corruption among the Zuptas, but the VBS bank affair has left them with mud on their faces. Zuma’s recall took the wind out of their sails, and since then they have been flip-flopping trying to catch the slightest breeze.

COPE

I never considered voting for the Congress of the People Party before, because of their in-fighting leadership struggles, which made them seem to be more about personalities than policies. But that seemed to settle down and I was seriously considering voting for them until they recently allied themselves with a militantly racist organisation called Afriforum, and a militantly anti-Christian organsation called Dignity, whose leader spouts hate speech against Christians at every opportunity. Thanks, but no thanks.

The UDM

I have long had two reservations about the United Democratic Movement led by Bantu Holomisa. One is that he once led a coup, and the second is that he seems to enjoy being sycophantically addressed by journalists as “General”.

To these an additional reason has recently been added: when the UDM conspired with other parties including the EFF to remove the DA mayor of Nelson Mandela Municipality in order to replace him with one who appears to be just as corrupt as any of the Zuptas.

The IFP

The Inkatha Freedom Party resisted the first democratic elections in 1994 for several months, and as a result more than 700 people died. Enough said.

The ACDP

The African Christian Democratic Party claims to uphold Christian principles, but I’m not so sure about that. For one thing, they favour capital punishment, though on the credit side they are opposed to abortion on demand. Being “pro-life”, I am opposed to both.

Whenever I have, in the past, considered voting for the ACDP, my mind has been decisively been made up by receiving a bundle of far-right wing propaganda pamphlets sent in the name of the ACDP by one Ed Cain. Ed Cain used to publish a right-wing “Christian” paper called Encounter, which was funded through the old Department of Information of scandal fame — one of the few instances of government corruption exposed in those pre-democracy days of media censorship. Encounter published articles from people with enormous differences in theology. The only thing they had in common was a right-wing political stance.

A friend of mine who supported the ACDP assured me that Ed Cain was a loose cannon and did not represent the party, but the fact remains that the party did not officially repudiate Ed Cain and the publications he sent out in its name. That made me suspect that a lot of the party’s support came from the right-wing followers of Ed Cain, and they could not afford to alienate them, just as Cyril Ramaphosa cannot afford to alienate the Zuptas in the ANC.

Agang

Well, I have to admit that I voted for Agang for parliament in the 2014 election, mainly because I thought Mamphela Ramphekle had things to say that the country needed to hear, and that even as a minority she could have an influence in parliamentary committees etc.

What happened? There seems to have been an internal party coup in which Mamphela Ramphele was ousted, and Agang is represented in parliament by a couple of jobsworths who are just waiting for their parliamentary pensions, because I doubt that anyone will ever vote for them again.

Oh, and also in the 2014 elections I voted for the EFF for the provincial council, because I thought they might be more effective in opposing things like toll roads in general and e-tolls in particular — another reason why I won’t vote for the ANC in Gauteng province, even if, in the event of their leaving all the Zuptas off their list, I might consider voting for them for parliament.

Oh, and there’s also the Freedom Front Plus. They are at leas more honest about their right-wingness than the ACDP.

Where next?

So here I am, the proverbial floating voter.

Are the pubs still closed on election day? Perhaps I’ll vote for the first candidate who offers to buy me a drink.

I’ve heard rumours of a “Revolutionary Workers Party”, but they are either keeping a very low profile, or the media are pretending they don’t exist, preferring to give publicity to clowns like Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who, having destroyed the SABC now wants to destroy the country as well with his local content party. The Revolutionary Workers Party sounds a bit like the MDC in Zimbabwe, but if they keep such a low profile no one will be able to find their name in the ballot book.

Are there any more promising candidates among the 200 or so others?

 

 

 

Malema has matured

Please forgive me if the title of this post sounds like the condescending musings of an old fart grumbling about “the youth of today”. I suppose that’s what I am, even if I don’t want it to sound that way. And perhaps I’m writing for other old farts who think that Julius Malema is a bumptious young whippersnapper who still has a lot to learn. But I’m not as old as Robert Mugabe, and Julius Malema has rumbled him. And he’s seen through Jake the Fake. Julius Malema has shown that he can, and does, learn from experience, which crusty old farts like Jake the Fake and Mad Bob Mugabe evidently don’t.

Compare, for example, these two articles — Zimbabwe Government Mocks ‘Falsely Radical’ Malema Over Talks:

The Zimbabwe government has lambasted EFF leader, Julius Malema for being a coward.

The Mugabe led-government simply described Malema as a “young and impressionable” leader; who has turned himself into a weapon that fights against liberation movements “on behalf of imperialism”.

How’s that for a bunch of old farts telling a young whippersnapper to grow up?

But compare and contrast that with what happened when Julius Malema visited Zimbabwe only six years ago. There’s a big difference.

And when you’ve read those two, try this — Zimbabwe, Malema & the Court Jesters | The Con:

Former ANC Youth League president and current Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Juluis Malema who is often problematised and perhaps even celebrated by the mainstream media as a South African court jester is perhaps one of the most volatile voices in the public sphere.

Politicians have always employed performative techniques, to rally and garner support from their constituencies. Clive Gaser suggests that there has always been a sense of militancy in the conduct of leaders of the Youth League — performativity is not only specific to Malema. It was apparent in Malema’s predecessors.

I still think that the EFF is better at identifying problems than coming up with solutions but give it time. At least the EFF is identifying bogus causes for problems. The ANC has been blaming apartheid for poor service delivery, but Malema: ANC should stop blaming apartheid for not delivering | IOL:

The African National Congress should stop using the apartheid legacy for not delivering services to the people, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Sunday.

Speaking at an EFF August 3 municipal elections rally at the Zamdela Stadium in Sasolburg in the Free State, Malema lambasted the ANC leadership, saying the party was still using the apartheid legacy to cover incompetency and did not “care about black people”.

Apartheid is to blame for many things, but poor service delivery in municipalities that the ANC has controlled for the last 15 years is not one of them.

Mugabe, Malema and the future of South AfricaFor example, in the City of Tshwane, where I live, rubbish collection has been outsourced and privatised in the approved Thatcherist fashion. That was done by the ANC.

Why is this a bad idea?

Some time ago the municipality introduced wheelie bins and specialised rubbish collection lorries to pick them up in an automated process. The lorries were designed to compact the rubbish so that they would have to make fewer wasteful trips to the dump.

Since the rubbish collection was privatised, it has gradually reverted to a much more primitive process. Some rubbish lorries are simply a cage made of diamond-mesh fencing, into which the bins are manually emptied. Even some of the purpose-built ones look old and badly maintained.

The reason is not far to seek. If you tender for a rubbish-collection contract for three years, and it is uncertain whether it will be renewed after that period, but it might be given to someone else, there is little point in investing in specialised equipment. If you don’t get the contract, who will you sell it to? If the contract isn’t renewed, that cuts your losses.

Julius Malema Launches EFFOf course if the contract isn’t renewed, the workers might also lose their jobs. By their very nature, contractors for such services are inclined to employ casual labour, so the workers are unlikely to have such benefits as pensions or medical aid or job security. This was done by the ANC; it was not done in the apartheid period. The Tshwane Municipality has done some good things too, and I think it is one of the better-run municipalities in the country, but failures in service delivery in 2016 are not the fault of apartheid.

So it seems to me that though in the past Julius Malema took a shotgun approach to identifying problems, just blasting away in the hope that something would hit the target, he is now adopting a more pinpoint approach, trying to identify the real cause. I don’t know if the EFF will control any municipalities after the local government elections on 3 August, but even if they don’t control any, they could be useful watchdogs, keeping the other councillors on their toes.

 

 

Juju outshines the sun

I was rather puzzled by the sudden popularity of a post on my other blog: Zuma witchcraft story goes viral in right-wing media | Khanya. Lots of people seemed to be finding my blog using search terms like “Zuma” and “witchcraft”. So what were the evil right-wing media up to now? The Daily Sun is notorious for its stories of witches, zombies, tokoloshes and the like, and, to judge by their sales, people love reading about such things.

Mermaids allegedly found in President |uma's swimming pool

Mermaids allegedly found in President Zuma’s swimming pool

So I did my own search on the search terms that people were using to find my blog, and found that this time it wasn’t the right, but the left — Julius Malema was apparently accusing President Zuma of practising witchcraft by having mermaids in his swimming pool! Who would have thought that Julius Malema would outshine the Daily Sun?

A quick Google search reveals that this story does not seem to have hit the mainstream media yet, not even the Daily Sun, or the UK Daily Mail, but it nevertheless seems to have stirred up enough public interest to promote a significant increase in traffic to my blog.

Reflections on the election

Though the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, most of the votes have been counted, and one can begin to see possible trends in the 2014 General Election in South Africa.

One of the most significant things that strikes me is that in the great City of Tshwane, where I live, the ANC thus far has polled less than 50% in the Provincial polls. Though all the results are not yet in, the current figure is 49.54%. If that trend continues to the muncipal elections in two years’ time, the ANC could lose control of the city council.

The figure for the national poll in Tshwane was a little over 51%, and that is in itself quite interesting. Nearly 47000 people voted for the ANC for parliament, but did not vote for the ANC for the provincial council.

In fact the ANC appears to have lost a lot of support in Gauteng generally.

I’m quite surprised at the result in Tshwane, because on the whole I think our city council has performed fairly well. Roads are repaired, rubbish is removed, the infrastructure seems to be working most of the time. I know that it’s a big place, and some parts of the city may be worse off, but generally Tshwane has not seem the same kind of service delivery protests that have been seen in other parts of the country.

E-oll gantry (photo from the linked article)

E-oll gantry (photo from the linked article)

One issue that has probably affected citizens of Tshwane more than many other residents of Gauteng, and affected Gauteng more than other provinces, is e-tolls, for which Sanral announced an increase in tariffs the day after the election.

Though that is probably not the only issue that has caused a drop in support for the ANC, it is certainly one of the ones that was most publicised in Gauteng and affected large numbers of people, and almost all the opposition parties said that they were opposed to e-tolls.

Taking a wider view, and looking at the country as a whole, one of the outstanding features has been the even more spectacular decline in support for COPE (the Congress of the People Party). I don’t think that was unexpected, or that anyone was greatly surprised by it. COPE did quite well in the 2009 elections for a new party, but the unseemly and very public squabbles among its leaders from then until now meant that no one could take them seriously at all, and so most voters didn’t.

If e-tolls was an issue that affected Gauteng, the Marikana massacre was one that affected the North-West Province, and the platinum miners in particular. And the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were the party that took their plight most seriously.

The polling districts marked in red, where the EFF got the most support, are where the platinum mines are located.

The polling districts marked in red, where the EFF got the most support, are where the platinum mines are located.

I suspect that the EFF drew some of its support from the moribund COPE, and and more from disgruntled ANC voters who felt that the ANC had betrayed the working class and the unemployed.

I suspect that it also drew some support that might otherwise have gone to Agang.

Agang, like the EFF, was a new party in this election, but, like COPE, it shot itself in the foot before it really got started, with Mamphela Ramphele’s disastrous flirtation with the DA. I suspect that many of those who might have been willing to support Agang would never have voted for the DA, and were looking for an alternative to both the ANC and the DA. After the flirtation with the DA, I think many potential voters probably transferred their votes to the EFF and the other smaller parties, and would not have voted for the DA even if Agang had merged with it.

I think it is a pity in a way, because Mamphela Ramphele had some good things to say about education, and perhaps if she makes it to parliament as the sole representative of her party (there have been precedents for that) she might be able to exercise some influence for good.

Agang did get some votes, and I suspect that, rather unusually for a proportional representation system, people were voting for a person and not for a party list. Some may have voted for sentimental reasons, seeing Mamphele Ramphela as a vestigial representative of Black Consciousness, which flourished in the 1970s — and Azapo seems to have lost some if the little support that it had.

The DA has increased its support, but I think that it has almost reached its limit. I don’t think it can hope to get much more than 25%, 30% at the very most. I think the EFF has more potential for growth, because their potential support base is much larger — the workers and the unemployed outnumber the middle class who vote for the DA, though, to be honest, I think I prefer WASP (the Workers and Socialist Party) to the EFF. They stand for many of the same things, but they lack the fat cat leaders.

 

 

Who should I vote for?

In theory our proportional representation voting system should give one lots of choice. There are lots of parties to choose from, and if any of them get 0,25% of the votes they get representatives in parliament. Unlike a constituency system, there are no unopposed or safe seats, where you have no vote or a wasted vote. Every vote counts.

But I still find it difficult to decide.

What I do when following news of elections in other countries is to take one of those quizzes that you find on various web sites, where the quiz is designed to match your expressed values to the policies of one of the parties or candidates. For example, in the 2012 US Presidential election, I did one of those quiz thingies, and at the end it told me that if I had a vote in that election I should cast it for Jill Stein.

Jill who?

I’d never heard of her.

But you can read about it in American elections: rhetoric and reality.

But I couldn’t find any similar quizzes in South Africa, until I came across this one, sponsored by City Press.

Play: Who deserves my vote.

It’s pretty clunky and unsophisticated compared with the overseas ones — instead of matching your expressed values with the manifestoes of the parties and statements by the candidates, they just give you chunks of the manifestoes themselves, and ask you to pick the ones you like the most.

Well, I tried it.

At least it might give me a clue about which parties I should look at more closely before decided which one to vote for.

The answer? All of them. Well, nearly all of them.

Parties I should vote for in 2014

Parties I should vote for in 2014

That’s not much help, is it? The percentages in the graphics also seem to be a bit inconsistent, though the trend is clear enough.

But of course policy manifestoes are not the only criterion. There are other co0nsiderations, like their historical record, how much you trust their leaders, and so on.

Vote14aI’ll cross Cope off the list for a start. They seem to have spent most of their energy since the last election in internal party squabbles with various leaders taking each other to court. If they can’t manage their own party properly, there’s little hope that they will be able to manage the country.

Then there’s the ANC. But they seem to be living on past glory. Yes, they had a good story to tell — 15-20 years ago. But the recent past looms larger, and three things stand out: Marikana, E-tolls, and Nkandla. And that procession of very expensive cars in ANC colours doesn’t help; too much bling, angling for the IziKhotane vote, perhaps? Thanks, but no thanks.

The FF+? They seem too much like a retreaded version of Andries Treurnicht’s old Conservative Party to me, still standing for sectional interests, and even many of those who might in the past have identified with those sectional interests seem to prefer to throw their lot into a wider South Africanism.

Vote14aEFF. The wrong party at the wrong time. If Cosatu had broken from the tripartite alliance and started a Labour Party, I’d be interested. But the EFF looks a bit too much like fat cats selling snake oil to the poor. The sight of Julius Malema leading a march from Joburg to Pretoria from the back of a bakkie seems to sum things up. They say some good things, and some incredibly silly things that they don’t seem to have thought through. But I might, just might, consider voting for them at provincial level. That wouldn’t help Juju get into parliament, but I suspect that they might have some good people on their provincial lists.

Then there’s the DA, the Democratic Alliance. They have several stories to tell, one good, the others middling to bad. They’ve been telling us that they fought apartheid. Well some of their ancestors did, and some of their ancestors introduced apartheid, so those seem to cancel each other out. I’m also suspicious of political parties that promise jobs. The ANC used to do that too. Politicians who promise jobs usually end up giving jobs to pals. And after the Democratic Party’s “fight back” campaign in 1999, to attract those of the white right who were gatvol after five years of democracy, which enabled them to absorb the rump of the National Party which had fought against democracy for 40 years and more.. well, that isn’t easy to forget. But, like the EFF, I might, just might, consider voting for them at the provincial level.

Vote14aThat leaves Agang.

Which has the biggest chunk of the teething ring, the only one that got more than the other parties. I was pretty sure I would vote for them until Mamphela Ramphele shot herself in the foot by toenadering with the DA. But even though she’s blotted her copybook, what’s the alternative? I still think she could make a useful contribution in parliament.

So the City Press quiz, plus thinking aloud, as it were, in this blog post, is all part of the process of trying to make up my mind about where to put my cross come Wednesday. I’ve more or less decided where I won’t put it.

 Update

Just found another “choose your party” site (hat-tip to Ryan Peter), which is a bit mor sophisticated than the City Press one — I don’t know if it is more accurate. It had a different set of recommendations:

Vote14cI’m even less sure about those than I am about the City Press ones.

I thought the UCDP was Mangope’s party, and I have a kind of built-in distrust of former “homeland” leaders, especially those who opted for “independence”. But maybe I’m missinformed about that.

I’ve never heard of the People’s Alliance before, and I hope it isn’t the sushi king party!

I know of the ACDP, but would not vote for it for reasons explained in the comments below. I’m also pro-life, and so would prefer to vote for a party that is against both capital punishment and abortion.

Well, now you can try both these tools to help you decide which party to vote for!

 

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