It is my belief that democracy is failing in South Africa, and the reason for this is two-fold: first, the incumbent government’s perception of democracy is out of kilter with the traditional meaning, and secondly, the voting public is largely politically immature.
Before I get stuck into this little rant, let me be clear that when I talk about the ANC, I am referring to the fat-cats who are at the top of the organization. That is to say, those who through an elaborate patronage system, gets a ticket to stand in the queue at the feeding trough; or to put it bluntly, the ANC politicians on national, regional and local government levels.
Over the course of 20 years of ANC rule (let’s be frank – they govern on increasingly rare occasions), I have come to realize that they have a fundamentally flawed understanding of what democracy means. Those who are ANC supporters, sympathizers and collaborators may not necessarily have the same flawed understanding – indeed many have rather romanticized notions of what democracy is – are nonetheless complicit in the failure of the system by virtue of their association with this organization.
The traditional meaning of democracy is according to one source, government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. There is off course that famous line from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech which most people recognize more readily “… government of the people, by the people, for the people…”
The ANC, more so by their behaviour since Jacob Zuma became the leader and President of the country, have however demonstrated a radical departure from these principles. It would seem as if their understanding of democracy is much simpler: the majority rules, or to put it sarcastically, those who get the most votes by whatever means, gets to decide what’s best for everyone.
And this folks, is how the ANC functions. Their fanatical intolerance of anything proposed by anyone outside the ANC, no matter how just or moral is shocking to behold. For them it’s the ANC way, or the highway. In pursuit of retaining total dominance and control, the ANC are willing to do just about anything – stack the judiciary, security forces, civil service and police in their favour, and railroad draconian legislation into force.
Just this week a minority party dared to ask the President a question in Parliament, which he refused to answer (which incidentally is becoming the norm; either that or replies that are obfuscated) , and they were censured by the ruling ANC. Admittedly this minority party behaved rather shabbily after the President refused to answer, but the question was valid and pertinent to the lives and well-being of the population as a whole.
The ANC’s Deputy-Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte even had the temerity to state that a party that had only garnered six percent of the vote, had no right to question a party that had managed to get sixty percent at the polls. How is this democracy? And what the fuck is a Deputy-Secretary-General anyway? It just sounds so dictatorial; belonging in a long discredited Communist era.
And let’s be fair. The ANC can hardly be considered Communist. They are just so enamoured of the bling and high lifestyle. The long-suffering public have simply lost count of the incidences of corruption involving the ANC, and have sadly become immune to new revelations which are an almost daily occurrence.
If the ANC believes they know what democracy is all about, they’re either delusional or wilfully ignorant. I hope it’s the former, because the latter suggests an agenda that has frightening consequences for this country.