In a country as richly diverse as ours, politics plays a major role in virtually every sphere of society. In many ways, this signposts a vibrant community striving to shake off the mistakes of the past; in others, it could point to a hardening of the arteries pumping the lifeblood of national change.
But as American comic genius Groucho Marx so succinctly pointed out: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
What that boils down to is politics must be leavened with some ordinary common sense and not whipped into a frenzy of spin-doctoring hatched by the imperatives of the immediate.
We would suggest that there is a slice of the credible about the self-styled commander-in-chief of the EFF Julius Malema’s contention that the ANC used to fill Soweto’s FNB Stadium, an arena with a capacity of close on 95 000, but had to bus supporters in from across the country to fill the 40 000-seater Orlando Stadium for the party’s 105th anniversary bash at the weekend when there are 6 million residents in Johannesburg.
To apply the criteria espoused by the cigar-smoking past master of the one-liner, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Malema’s basic arithmetic.
But in applying it the way he has amounts to poking a stick into a particularly sensitive bees’ nest he has also gone out of his way to find, diagnosing the logistical problems of marshalling delegates from distant regions and attempting to remedy all of this by insisting that it points to the rise of the EFF.
While President Jacob Zuma and the ANC faithful have their problems, to claim a victory on such sparse evidence is, we would suggest, simplistic at best, even if it is politics in the raw.