I’ve been nursing this cold for a whole week, and it’s mildly annoying. On reading this article about President Zuma’s visit to a squatter settlement in the Western Cape (WC), I became more than a little infuriated. So I guess it’s time for another political rant before I log off and start watching Cloud Atlas which will hopefully calm me down.
The President exclaims that he is “…shocked to see my people live in these conditions.” He was referring to the Democratic Alliance (DA) who he says claims that “…things have improved.” The DA is in opposition to the ANC and is governing the WC – the only Province which is under their control, the rest being under ANC control.
The reality is that there are nine Provinces in South Africa, eight of which is governed by the ANC, of which Zuma is the leader. There are squatter settlements in all these other Provinces, in which people are living in squalid conditions that are equivalent to those of the WC, or worse. Zuma must think that “his” people are as ignorant as this poor woman (Pumla) from the WC squatter settlement who declared that she will vote for the ANC in the upcoming elections and stated that,
It’s just promises probably, but even if the promise is empty you still want that hope.
The reason the ANC are still in power is because there are far too many Pumla’s in South Africa, and far too many people who still believe in the ANC that once was. These people are misguidedly content to live on the hope that some day our politicians will make good on their many promises.
My anger turned to full-blown disgust when a statement was released to the press later this afternoon, in which the ANC stated that public statements that insult the President are “an abuse of the constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of expression.”
The spokesman went on to issue a veiled threat to the effect that:
…Elsewhere in the world, it is a criminal offence to insult a sitting head of state, and South Africans must, together, forge a common understanding on how we halt this impunity and abuse of democratic privilege.
The only countries I know of which actually prosecute and harass their citizens for criticising their President are those rune by demagogues, tyrants an tin-pot dictators. I’d like to think that South Africa is a proper democracy, but there are many, including influential people such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu who think we are on the slippery slope to tyranny.
The ANC that led South Africa to freedom from Apartheid is very different to the one led by Jacob Zuma. It has become in so many ways, a mirror-image of the apartheid era despots, under his leadership, or more accurately his abysmal lack of it.
It is abundantly clear that Zuma’s ANC must perish, so that the real ANC may rise in triumph once again. This can only be accomplished at the voting polls next year; it’s a pity we have to endure his Presidency in the interim.
End of rant; time for that movie…
Yet the ANC is also capable of undercutting the strength of the trade union movement. For instance, under the ANC government, police helped to break a strike at Pick and Pay supermarkets. During a strike in the auto industry, the ANC government lowered the tariffs on imports, thus de-emphasizing local production.
Yet in fact the closer the end of apartheid approached, the further the objective of socialism receded in the minds of the leaders of the Revolutionary Alliance uniting the ANC, SACP and COSATU. In part this was a consequence of the international political and ideological conjuncture. Stalinism in some form or other tended to form the horizons of the South African left, playing a crucial role in defining its conception of socialism, and offering a picture of the world divided into two blocs, the ‘progressive’ one united behind the Soviet Union and the imperialist one led by the United States.