Look beyond election promises to the concrete solutions on offer

Look beyond election promises to the concrete solutions on offer
Outside the Marikana building on University Street, Durban. 8 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Do your research about the different parties and then exercise your right to vote on 29 May. You can’t complain if you don’t bother to vote.

Dear DM168 readers,

I’m a born and bred KZN girl and, after 18 years in the Western Cape, I still dearly miss the balmy weather of the East Coast. The province holds beautiful memories and many of my loved ones still live there. But when I took my partner for a visit in December (his first real trip to Durban and surrounds), I saw everything afresh through his eyes … and it was heartbreaking.

Nothing looked like I remember. The gorgeous beaches I had raved about were now full of sewage and not really safe to swim in. The centre of town, where I used to go on the weekends to “window shop”, and where I spent much of my student years, was now a mess of litter, lined with buildings neglected for years.

Durban, the  city that was once compared with Miami – and hailed as the place “where the sun never sets and the fun never stops” – is a shadow of what it used to be.  Venturing into the Midlands reveals more of the same. It fills me with sadness to know that when I talk about my memories, that’s all they are now, because the places and sights so fondly etched in my mind have been ravaged beyond recognition.

That can be partly attributed to the KZN riots of 2021 – the province is still trying to repair much of that damage – and extreme floods. However, a large part of the blame, I think, can be laid on mismanagement by the province and municipalities.

In our lead story this week, DM political journalist Queenin Masuabi takes a look at the current political posturing as parties vie to gain control of KZN. If I were still living there, I would take a hard look at the state of the province and what politicians are bringing to the table. Voters need to see past lofty election promises and focus on concrete solutions that can restore the province to what it once was.

It’s not all doom and gloom this week, though. Ferial Haffajee brings us the first part of a feature looking at up-and-coming politicians younger than 45. Though some names, such as Ronald Lamola, are immediately recognisable, there are many who are fairly new to the political scene. With them comes hope that we are moving towards a new regime, maybe even a corruption-free one (a girl can dream).

From a former professional wrestler to former leaders of the #FeesMustFall protests, these are young leaders who are stepping up to make a change. Finding out more about them has filled me with hope.

Looking further afield, Caryn Dolley brings us the strange tale of a former South African who left our shores and moved to the US – where he proceeded to murder two women. Not only that, but in a story worthy of a “dumbest criminal” award, he filmed one of the murders and labelled the memory card “homicide at Midtown Marriott”. Having read some of the comments he made about South Africa on online forums, I can’t say I’m sorry he emigrated.

The story of the week has been the signing into law of the controversial National Health Insurance Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa. After greeting the announcement with disbelief, health industry sources were cautious about commenting before the signing on Wednesday. Critics will tell you the move smacks of electioneering, coming exactly two weeks before election day. NHI has admirable goals. The problem lies in the details.

Millions of people have unanswered questions about what this will mean for them, how it will work and, most importantly, how it will be funded and by whom. We have three articles looking at NHI in this edition – an opinion piece by Alex van den Heever, chair of social security system administration and management studies at the Wits school of governance, an editorial by Tim Cohen and a third article from yours truly looking at what medical schemes had to say.

I’ve covered healthcare since 2004 and I’ve heard about NHI ad nauseam for years. After listening to all the criticism from the private sector, and even doubts from the public sector, I think it’s safe to say you shouldn’t cancel your medical scheme membership any time soon. Even the Treasury, responsible for finding the money to fund NHI, says implementing it could take “three decades”.

Though I have been known to talk a lot, I’m also a fan of taking action. On that note, I urge you, dear reader, to find out about the different political parties by reading their manifesto summaries on Daily Maverick’s website, and then exercise your right to vote come 29 May. You can’t complain if you don’t bother to vote.

Heather will be back next week. Send her your thoughts at heather@daily­ and she may just feature your letter on our readers’ page.

Yours in defence of truth,


This story first appeared in our weekly DM168 newspaper, available countrywide for R35.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Lyle Ferrett says:

    I’m voting for the DA on May 29th, not because it’s a “white” party (which is factually incorrect) or because I’m white, but because it is well-organised.

    I’m not voting for the politicians in the DA; I’m voting for the hardworking administrators who have consistently proven themselves wherever they’ve governed (metric after metric points to the DA being more capable of governing than the ANC from the Western Cape to KZN).

    Building an organisation as large and well-governed as the DA is no small feat. It makes logical sense to vote for the DA but it seems most voters are going to be voting along racial lines.

  • Jan Vos says:

    Vote? Pffft! There isn’t even ONE party that deserves my vote. Corrupt, incompetent, uneducated, lazy, untrustworthy bunch of fat cats. The lot of them.
    Your little vote will make no difference. It’s nothing but smoke and mirrors – this hellhole has gone down the drain. And it shall never return to it’s former glory.

    • Patterson Alan John says:

      Jan, please vote.
      Opposition is important.
      If a rugby team all decided not to play, the opposition has a walkover.
      Any political party that is not opposed, will do whatever they wish and that is when it is too late to say, “If only I had stood up against them.”
      The least you can do, is select what you may consider to be the best of a bad bunch and put your ‘X’ there.

  • Indeed Jhb says:

    It is up to us, the voters, to change the outcome of an election peacefully – the vote is our sword. There is a saying, if you don’t vote you get the government you deserve
    If you don’t use your vote you give in to the tactics used during the ”July 2021” destructive and plain criminal looting to intimidate people – we have seen that before a mainstay of all terrorist groups. There is no care for the population only attaining power at all cost

  • Shaun Pastor says:

    That was a lovely piece Neesa, your words hit home as I was a former Bluff boytjie myself, and then you had to go end it off with the lie that “you can’t complain if you don’t bother to vote.” That point of view has been thrown into so many conversations and it is a misleading concept ok. I was born in this country, I went to a decent school in this country, I got some good qualifications after putting some hard work in at college and after, How is it some politically minded persons right to say that I do not have a say in this country if I don’t vote. You do realize that there are some people that look beyond the viewpoint of, Oh I got where I am because of the government I voted in. Seriously??? You became a DM writer just because Ramaphosa said you can? That is a seriously messed up way to look at life. I got where I am because of the hard work I put into my own training. If you want my life story pm me and you will see what a person who has never voted has given this country. As Frank Sinatra said in his famous song. “I did it my way”

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