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Opinionista

The election is likely to be a shattered mirror incapable of reflecting the will of the people

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David Gant was co-founder and co-chairperson of Denis Worrall’s Independent Party in the late 1980s; Fedex Chair of the Democratic Party; member of the President’s Council; and member of the DP caucus. He was a delegate to the Codesas of the 1990s.

The upcoming election will not change much — it is only when our current rulers are replaced by a government of national unity, with the revitalised participation of a demanding civil society, that a sense of hope, promise and pride among our citizens will be rekindled.

The local government elections have inspired daily revelations of the wretched, sordid and inhumane conditions in which so many of our citizens live and have frighteningly brought home to the nation the reality of just how dismally the ANC-led government has wrought social, economic and political havoc and chaos in our land and especially on those that should have benefited most from our new democracy.

Sadly, with even more politically fractured municipalities and a shortage of state funds, we are unlikely to see decisive progress towards acceptable living conditions and jobs for the communities that need them so badly and the local government elections will have little or no impact on the state of bankruptcy, incompetence, corruption and pure laziness that pervades our central government and its leaders.

It is from there and from them and a hopeless lack of top leadership that our failed state comes and only from their removal and replacement by a government of national unity, with a revitalised participation of a demanding civil society, will a sense of hope, promise and pride among our citizens be rekindled.

The election results are likely to resemble a shattered mirror with fragmented and fractured pieces scattered across our political floors. Some components will be bigger than others and some pieces will disappear altogether, but the shattered mirror will not reflect the real will, desire and hopes of the people or the ability of those elected to improve our country and its citizen’s fortunes.

It matters not whether there is a large or small turnout. A diminished number of voters will portray the disillusion, disregard and disdain voters have developed for our political establishments and conversely, an increased presence at the polls will simply reflect the widespread public discontent, frustration and outrage citizens feel about the way they are being governed and serviced by their elected representatives. Who can blame them?

The choices facing voters are lean pickings. While the DA justifiably deserves increased support, it has too many Achilles’ heels within its own structures, some glaring examples of neglect and mismanagement within some constituencies it controls, and an inability of its leaders to adequately appeal to the majority of black voters. The Freedom Front Plus, likewise, raises some basic common-sense proposals but is unlikely to become relevant in the greater scheme of things.

Alternatively, it is difficult to identify any substantive reason why the ANC is deserving of anybody’s vote. There is not one area of national, provincial or local government in which it can claim to have achieved any form of success and the shambolic state of our schools, hospitals, safety and security establishments, municipal services, prosecutorial institutions, ineffective administration of Home Affairs and national economic mismanagement bear testimony to its incompetence, corruption, bankruptcy and lack of a sense of reality and integrity.

Its leaders and representatives propagate and appear to believe their own lies and it allows its cadres to blatantly and flagrantly disregard the rule of law and escape accountability. No one is more guilty of this than the ANC president himself.

The EFF present ludicrous, incredible promises, idiotic ideology and only provide a populist recipe for anarchy, racial revolution and economic disaster. An accelerated descent to yet another African basket case state.

There are two forms of civil society protest — the ballot box or the streets. The calculated decision of President Ramaphosa to continuously extend the state of disaster has nullified any form of public protests and has protected the ANC from its shameful performance being openly and publicly exposed and opposed by the masses. The next electoral opportunity is too far in the future and allows too much time for our disintegration into a failed state to materialise and become even more of a reality.

The time to act is now and only a combined civil society inspired tsunami, revolution, rebellion and peaceful change of government can change the political, social and economic dynamics of our country and place us on a trajectory towards racial harmony, peace and prosperity.

We have in and among our civil society institutions, the media, business, religious, political and academic organisations, a good number of activists and leaders who can orchestrate such an initiative and transform our country into a land of promise and potential.

Like Mandela, someone, somewhere, somehow must answer the call, grasp the nettle and mobilise ordinary, decent and patriotic South Africans to do what they have done before — save our country from abject failure, degradation and disgrace. We cannot leave it to our self-serving politicians. DM

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