First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

DA councillor candidate Angus McKenzie’s theatrical c...

2021 Local Elections

ROAD TO 2021 LOCAL ELECTIONS

Viewers for votes: DA councillor candidate’s theatrical campaign video is mesmerising in its absurdity

A DA ward councillor candidate in Cape Town has released a campaign video clip, with a soundtrack and storyline to boot, that portrays him as a hero clamping down on crime and ready to help frustrated residents. Here, with tongue in cheek, much like we did with political party manifesto launches, we review the ‘movie’.

See reviews of the EFF, DA, ANC and ActionSA manifesto launches here

If anything, it is an unforgettable one minute and 38 seconds.

It leaves one questioning its veracity.

And this is where Angus McKenzie, DA ward councillor and 2021 candidate for the Cape Town suburb of Bonteheuwel, scores highest – hitting the incredulity factor hard on the head.

McKenzie launched a campaign video on his Facebook page, produced by one Nadeem Parker, on Sunday, 3 October.

The array of characters in his 98-second skit includes a gunman, another man sprawled on the ground, McKenzie as a punching politician to the rescue, cheering residents, and, in between the action, a scene involving an unflushing toilet.

All this is accompanied by a rather unique local remix of the Ghostbusters theme song.

Daar’s ‘n skietery in die hele hood (there’s a shooting in the whole hood), for who you gonna vote? Vote Angus!” is one of the lines sung to the Ghostbusters tune.

Bonteheuwel, the ward McKenzie hopes to retain, is one of Cape Town’s many areas on the Flats that bear witness to gang violence.

His quest to retain his position as councillor sees him up against the likes of the Patriotic Alliance’s Moulana Ebrahim Kasper and the ANC’s Patricia Benjamin.

Unlike McKenzie, neither has released a video extravaganza.

Meanwhile, in terms of who has the most clout when it comes to tackling crime, the Western Cape is run by the DA, while national government is led by the ANC.

This has often resulted in spats about policing in Cape Town. Because the police service is a responsibility of national government, opposition politicians are quick to home in on its inability to effectively deal with crime, especially gang violence.

The McKenzie campaign video taps into this.

Without going into too much detail to avoid spoilers, it essentially shows two residents who are frustrated because they have no running water at home.

It also shows a gunman and a man lying motionless on his back on the ground – presumably a victim of the gunman.

Cue predictable plot twist, accompanied by a dramatic change in music, and enter a strutting McKenzie, resplendent as a hero who takes on the baddie.

One part pulls no punches, showing McKenzie throwing a punch at the gunman – let us assume the camera stopped rolling and he called police first, and that his intention here was to highlight that crime is bad and that he was not promoting vigilante justice. (Let us also point out here that politicians are not known for approaching, let alone punching, armed criminals. They are known for complaining that criminality isn’t being effectively dealt with and – as we know full well – in some cases being accused of wrongdoing themselves.)

Another scene shows only McKenzie’s legs as he walks past what appears to be a city law enforcement or metro police vehicle, adding an element of gritty realism to the production.

Creative camera work and editing – we even see the underside of McKenzie’s shoe at one point (it is very clean) – keep the pace brisk.

The short video packs in a dizzying display of emotions – frustration, fear, anger, relief, cheer.

The standard of acting in some cases leaves much to be desired, with characters appearing stilted and contrived (on a par with the storyline).

McKenzie, however, comes across as confident, as a seasoned politician accustomed to putting on a show – his performance oozes “there’s only room for one sheriff” vibes.

But the video does not necessarily inspire confidence.

Initial comments posted in response to the video on McKenzie’s Facebook page were mostly positive. However, some Twitter users found it somewhat weird and baffling. 

For instance, Chester Missing posted a review of the “crazy-as-hell DA elections video”.


The video does indeed focus on serious issues, including access to running water which in turn links to service delivery and crime, especially involving residents caught up in the violence.

But McKenzie has been ward councillor in Bonteheuwel, and one might point out that the issues highlighted in the video – even though he portrays himself as dealing with them – have continued during his and his party’s watch (beneath the overarching ANC national umbrella, of course).

Indeed, part of the lyrics to the Ghostbusters tune go like this: “There’s a geblokte drain in die Bonteheuwel (There’s a blocked drain in Bonteheuwel). Who you gonna call? Call Angus!

Given the music and overall tone and delivery, the video could come across as being in poor taste.

A politician hinting at his own purported crime-fighting prowess, even in a light-hearted manner or in keeping with political showmanship, may be too over-the-top gimmicky for those with genuine and valid concerns about crime and the dire state of policing in South Africa.

McKenzie has previously irked opposition politicians when it comes to enforcing the law in the DA-run province.

In June 2020 it was reported that he angered the ANC when accompanying city law enforcement officers during an operation in Bonteheuwel – one photograph showed McKenzie holding onto the side of a City bakkie.

A subsequent ANC statement reportedly said: “In these pictures, councillor McKenzie is clearly demonstrating interference in the work of City employees. What we’re seeing is abusive power and contravention of the Code of Conduct, which is clear on what is expected of councillors.”

Ah, politics.

Back to McKenzie’s performance in front of a camera. His campaign video might seem odd, and to some even counterproductive in terms of portraying him favourably, but this is politics and so the unexpected and strange should be expected.

It may even appeal to younger voters and those who find local politics boring (but this is South Africa and let’s be real, politics here is anything but that). 

McKenzie’s campaign video is, if nothing else, different. It’s true what they say – there really is no business like show business.

The verdict will be in the eye of the beholder – in this case, those who take the trouble to find the video and watch it online.

Whether positive opinions will translate into votes, well, that might even produce enough material for a sequel. DM

Send us your pothole pictures. Thank-you! We have all the councillor ratings you submitted to us and will present them to you this week. From the first set of questions to our readers, you said that road conditions have deteriorated substantially or that roads are, in fact, non-existent. Now we want to see for ourselves what your road conditions are like. Send us images of the road conditions and of potholes so we can show and tell the authorities where the problems are. Send to: [email protected]

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 17

  • Nice spoof video with a message, maybe mixed, but good intentions. It is clear to me that communicating political messages to wards with diverse voter dynamics is complex and one likely needs to use a broad range of technologies ranging from the more traditional and basic “leaflets” to emails to no doubt video’s and social media. The youth are a target market which is extremely apathetic when it comes to politics. Perhaps he was trying to tap in to the younger members of his electorate. A for innovation.

  • Well we all know that the Maverick and Chester Missing are ANC supporters along with all the SA MSM.

    What’s wrong maverick, don’t like people poking fun at your Frog Boiling Squirrel?

  • It’s great to se a public representative making a effort, and showing some humour, even if the message is a bit muddled. Far better than a video of a politician standing on a podium making promises.

  • I do not see a difference between the video and handing out T shirts, except the video is quite entertaining, it is typical American style political canvassing. On the other, the T shirt can be used to clean the car.

  • A semi-nice, semi-funny, very original approach to canvassing that works – with a pinch of salt. I would argue that it is it’s amateurish presentation and use of locals is in fact its appeal. Interesting that Chester Missing sees fit to mock it? Why? It ain’t great, nor is the DA necessarily always great – but if the only alternative is the ANC or worse yet, the EFF, then waddaf**k? Seriously?

  • The choice of soundtrack is revealing, since the only thing he will be chasing, after he is elected, are ghosts… Hopefully the immaturity of the video and message will only appeal to under 10 years old, which are too young to vote anyway…

  • Loved the video – shows initiative and I just wish the naysayers would take a hike. How many opposition parties do we have ? 50 something last I heard. Given the ANC’s shocking lack of
    performance since 1994 one would think that all these opposition parties could band together and get rid of the ANC, forget the egos and work together! We’re on the slippery slope to become another Zim.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted