Are you having trouble deciding which turd to pick out of the political bog? Worry no longer, voting citizenry! I’m here to help.
I know. You’re just about up to here with South African politics. You don’t think there’s any point to voting anymore. Especially not in local elections. I get it – what’s the point of schlepping to the voting booth when we all fully know chances are your local candidate will be some low-level cadre picked out of a hat at Luthuli House? Why participate in a system that is so flawed, so completely screwed up, the only things missing to complete the banana republic image is the fat military dictator?
I feel the same way. Thanks to the cynical indifference of the ANC, the just-off-the-bulls-eye policies of the DA and the utter cluelessness of the rest, voting often feels like participating in one of those medical tests conducted by pharmaceutical companies to try some new drug out, except on 18 May you aren’t getting R200 and a free lunch for your trouble. It’s easy to be bitter about the entire debacle.
But this is one of those things where we absolutely need to stay foolishly optimistic. Democracy stops working when citizens grow tired of participating in it. The wicked thing is we, the people, could change the system if we really wanted to. We could vote out those who disappointed us, and invest our hope in a new crowd. But to do so, we need to be in the booth.
Certain pollsters have suggested that the ruling party may suffer a series of humiliating defeats thanks to the fact that their voter base is gatvol of their poor service delivery and Kremlin-like authoritarian tendencies, and will opt to stay home on 18 May. If that is true, we ought to be greatly alarmed – when people tire of the system of democracy, they will surely listen to someone who will promise to satisfy their needs in exchange for absolute power.
Look, I get it that it can be impossible at times to pick a South African political party worthy of your vote. The rhetoric seldom meets delivery, and I have yet to talk to a party that doesn’t somehow condescend to me as a voter.
Still, we have to vote. So I’ve made it easy for you. Need a reason to wake up on 18 May? I’ve thought some up.
No no, it was a pleasure…
Why vote for the ANC? The threat of an eternity spent in damnation, of course. And the knowledge that Julius Malema is spraying Hennessy on the heavenly hosts while you burn should you neglect your ecumenical duty to make your mark next to the ANC. Also, no other political party throws a better party (Kenny Kunene thrown in at no extra charge). Then there’s the toilet thing. The ANC spent years crowing about the DA’s open toilets; then we discovered that people living in ANC municipalities were also pooping in cabriolet johns. The ANC’s answer: Oh, we didn’t know about those. Haha! A hundred points for originality, 10 extra for believing that we’re that stupid.
This lot actually thinks it’s in politics for the public good. Hilarious, I know. As we all know, it takes an incredible amount of megalomania to believe that you are good enough to run a government. To deny this is par for the course among politicians, but to deny this because you truly believe you’re in it for the greater good takes a really special creature. If you like your politicians soft, sweet and coated in a layer of that “please, like us” oiliness, then there’s really only one party to consider.
Besides, they’re not the ANC.
Bonus points for enormous Twitter presence (even if Ryan Coetzee’s Twitter account was once adorned with an alarmingly orange face). I’d probably vote for the DA if they promised to stop flooding my timeline with #DAQA tweets every Sunday.
You can’t possibly vote for Cope with a straight face. Other than a really warped sense of irony, why would you? Maybe if you get off on self-mutilation. Except your ward councillor to split into two for no apparent reason and then spends the rest of his/her term in court, fighting over which half gets to use the anus.
Bonus points for managing to baffle even the most battle-hardened political journalists with their pantomime-like, never-ending divorce.
You have to give Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi some fearful respect for obstinately holding on to power for so long. I’m genuinely impressed by his stamina – and very thankful that he isn’t our president. Then again, when Codesa was in session, he was lobbying for a federal system for South Africa. It would have meant that he would have never lost KZN, but at least the rest of the country wouldn’t have been stuck with the horrible system we have now.
Freedom Front Minus
When it comes to balls in politics, it’s hard to beat the Freedom Front Minus (the deliciously accurate “FF-” phrase was lifted from Warwick Chapman’s tweet. When the news that Midvaal municipality still had a statue of Hendrik Verwoerd, the FF- threw a hissy fit. We’re talking about the architect of the apartheid state here, remember. By removing the statue, the DA is pandering to the black vote and is not “a friend of the Afrikaner”, the leader of the FF- in Gauteng said. The ANC takes the piss a lot with its talk about how Jesus would vote ANC and all that, but for sheer devil-may-care ballsiness (I can’t believe they said that because they’re genuinely so self-centred and stupid that they can’t see how it plays out in the wider political reality of South Africa – plus, it’s Verwoerd, man. Not André Nel, or someone like that), the FF- wins. DM
Sipho Hlongwane is a writer and columnist for Daily Maverick. His other work interests also include motoring, music and technology, for which he has some awards. In a previous life, he drove forklift trucks, hosted radio shows, waited tables, and was once bitten by a large monitor lizard on his ankle. It hurt a lot. Arsenal Football Club is his only permanent obsession. He appears in these pages as a political correspondent.
"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." ~ Salvador Dalí