Logging into social media lately, turning on the TV and watching or listening to the news bulletins has all resulted in news sources being filled with campaign tactics to win over voters.
The ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi visiting the flood victims of Durban, offering condolences and wads of cash under the guise of seeking votes;
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema travelling to Kimberley, Alexandra and other parts of the country to denounce white supremacy, instil black pride and trash-talk the ANC, with the agenda of having an X marked next to his name next week;
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and its master, Tony Leon, brought out of retirement, travelling across Gauteng, continuing to make promises of a better, equal South Africa while their nemesis, Aunty Pat de Lille, makes jabs at her former employer to gain support for her new Good party.
Ramaphosa was even caught in an image wiping snot off a woman’s nose during his campaign trail – a clear indication of the desperate times that have seen the desperate measures our politicians would go to for power.
Driving into Winterveldt north of Pretoria last week to attend the opening of a police station by Police Minister Bheki Cele (another vote-seeking initiative), I came across a familiar sight of the charred remains of a tyre in the road. The usual evidence left behind after a protest.
I then remembered the recent Tshwane shutdown, Alex shutdown and other random, sporadic shutdowns that gripped parts of the country last month.
On Monday, another group tried to shut down the capital city, an act that failed dismally as only about 30 people trickled out of the rented bus at the old Putco depot in Marabastad.
I found myself wondering what happened to these service delivery protests. Why did they stop suddenly? Were the services restored? Was it even about poor service delivery, as they claimed?
While political parties are orchestrating protests, hurling insults at each other on social media, bombarding media with invitations to their campaign trails and spending thousands on billboards, what they forget to understand is that we already know who we are voting for and have done so for some time.
When I attended Cele’s opening of the new Dube police station last week, where he slammed Mmusi Maimane while clearly campaigning for his own party, I asked a resident if she thought the state-of-the-art police station was a ploy to garner votes.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said.
“We welcome this police station, but we know who we want to vote for at the end of the day. We have a democratic right to take part in the elections or not and even if we don’t vote, that’s our choice – whether Bheki Cele gives us a new police station or not.
“I already know where my vote is going.”