Before the elections I asked my domestic worker whether she was going to vote. She said she would. I asked her whether she would vote for the DA. She said no. I asked, EFF, she said no; I asked “Zuma?” She almost shouted “No!” as if to say “of course not”. I asked “who then?” She replied “the ANC”.
By then I was thoroughly perplexed. I said: “Monica, if you vote for the ANC, you are voting for Zuma.” Again at 10 decibels higher, she shrieked: “No. I voted for Mandela.” Nuff said.
This is exactly what the ANC campaign was all about. With few heroes left, the ANC milked the Madiba brand for all it was worth. They canvassed voters with the message that a vote for the ANC is a vote for Mandela who “freed us”.
I read countless reports of voters claiming that the ANC had bribed them with food parcels and T-shirts, but they still voted EFF. One voter reportedly said: “Look, I might be poor but I’m not stupid. ANC people think we are stupid. They give us food parcels and T-shirts and promise to give us jobs after elections.
But after elections they buy German cars and forget about us. They did this to me before.” The elections have come and gone and the ANC has to deal with several body blows in having lost four major metros – Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
As much as they want to blame President Jacob Zuma for their losses, they dare not. The president is on a roll. Having the public support from his Cabinet, he reckons he is all-powerful now, and flexes his muscles by tangling with Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande.
There shall be “no fee increases” and the nuclear deal will be pursued. Anyone who stands in his way will be “dealt with accordingly”, to repeat a much-loved ANC phrase. News that our oil reserves have been sold for a dime under the watch of the grossly incompetent Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson reads like a horror story.
Zuma’s threats are clear: “You mess with me and I shall take all of you with your noses in the trough down with me.” That, in a nutshell, is the politics of corruption, wrapped in the cloak of ethnicity in the ANC. Yes, it is the Zulu-nostra versus the Xhosa-nostra, but even the Zulu constituency is growing tired of the president’s shenanigans – many going back to the IFP.
In all of this the public is of no consequence. Even the EFF claims to have been offered R1 billion to form coalitions with the ANC.
Assassinations and threats have accompanied this election and while the polls, on the whole, were peaceful, these electoral transgressions have no place in a constitutional democratic state. Most worrying of all is the recklessness of the president against his perceived adversaries, kept on the go with his politics of revenge.
Zuma needs to understand that the country owes him nothing and that SA belongs to all who live here, not just the ANC. Thousands fought for this democracy with our lives against a battery of laws and illegal actions that kept white domination in place for decades.
Looting the country for self-enrichment and then dumping it for others to clean up the mess have become part and parcel of the legacies of African rulers. Zuma needs to know that “when we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society, and economy”.
It is his duty as public servant No 1 to foster economic growth, anything less will end in his political demise.