My neighbour, a hardworking single parent, often tells me how much she despises politicians. “They are like salesmen who sell you products you do not want. They get in the way.” It is hard to disagree with her except that I believe that society can only function properly in a constitutional multi-party democracy that requires elected officials in a sovereign parliament to represent us. Elections allow the voters to demonstrate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the government of the day.
Last year the DA provincial government was the only one that received an unqualified audit and ironically the very people who vote for the ANC migrate from those mal-functioning provinces to the Western Cape in the hope of receiving better services. In 2010 an estimated 800 000 potential job opportunities did not materialise due to the failure of local and provincial government to spend their allocated budgets. The department of public works revealed that 226 231 job opportunities were lost because of the failure of district and local municipalities to spend their Expanded Public Works budgets. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs noted in its 2010 annual report that about R2.2billion municipal infrastructure grants went unspent. Of the 283 municipalities, 51 of them spent less than 50% of their allocation or nothing at all.
Corruption and municipal mismanagement is rife and taxpayers’ money is stolen with gay abandon to enrich those in power. Starting with the President Zuma and his family – in 19 March 2010, the Mail & Guardian published a long list of the Zuma family’s business interests entitled “Zuma Incorporated.” It indicates businesses acquired under the names of wives, children and relatives before and after the Polokwane conference and after Zuma’s inauguration. For a man who was destitute in the 1990s, it demonstrates shockingly how entre into public office opens the floodgates of access to public wealth – so aptly put by Benjamin Lichtenberg that if we fail to remain vigilant democracy can so easily become “the state of affairs in which you consent to having your pocket picked, and elect the best man to do it”.
So, with elections imminent, the ANC depends precisely on the working class masses to vote them into office, and will seduce them with short-term incentives because they can so easily be bought. Such as for example, Dumisani Ximbi, a former national organiser and leader of the Western Cape UDM, who recently crossed the floor to the ANC. As leader of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ, and with a following of 50 000 members here in the Western Cape and 4.5 million members nationally, he was easily wooed over to the ANC by President Jacob Zuma. At a meeting at the Cape of Good Hope church centre, Ximbi railed against the decline of UDM MPs from 1999 to 2009 and looked to the ANC to ‘bring them back in to the fold’. God knows what Zuma offered them in return for their vote, as the ANC is not immune to bribing people before an election, has even offered them paradise after death! Read The Times (3 May 2011):
“Zuma raised eyebrows recently during a rally in Mthatha when he said: “When you vote for the ANC, you are also choosing to go to heaven. “When you don’t vote for the ANC, you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork, who cooks people.
“When you are carrying an ANC membership card, you are blessed. When you get up there, there are different cards used, but when you have an ANC card you will be let through to go to heaven.”
Sadly, the very people who protest and burn tyres in the streets to show their disaffection, and who get shot, will usher the current mob back into office. That is why we should vote en masse and show the ruling party that we shall no longer stand idly by while they loot state coffers to buy arms, luxury cars, private jets, stay in expensive hotels, steal tenders, and make deals dressed up as black economic empowerment. Speaking about the American Congress in 1881, James Garfield, America’s 20th President, said at the time:
"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption."