ZUMA AND SOUTH AFRICA’S MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS


Okello Oculi writes that the youths are revolting against the prevailing system

South Africans sing and dance at demonstrations and other peaceful events. On leaving prison, Nelson Mandela enjoyed dancing at political events.

On November 4, 2021, women in Soweto dressed in green blouses danced in celebrating their switch of loyalty from the African National Congress to a new party, ActionSA. They danced for the camera behind the SABC reporter; recalling a river of youths dancing in opposition to racist oppressors on the eve of Mandela’s release.

These women had a heroic legacy of supporting a political movement for collective assertion of their hum and political rights from 1912 (when the African National Congress was formed), to 1994 when their access to ballot papers voted in Nelson Mandela elected in a democratic ritual.

Unlike 2021, similar dances and singing in demands for freedom and human dignity would have excited white police into bashing them with batons and bled them with live bullets.

In the run up to the November 1, 2021 election, reporters of SABC NEWS Channel 404, interviewed persons who expressed frustrations at shortages in their constituencies, including: lack of water, roads, sanitation, health clinics, electricity, housing, employment for youths, security from violent gangs, and the failure of local councillors and local bureaucrats to fulfil promises they made during past election campaigns.

When Mandela walked into freedom, it was these material benefits (plus symbolic gratification of seeing a Black man as their leader), that ordinary members of the African National Congress (ANC) longed for.

Critics assert that when Mandela failed to seize back land from white farmers and distribute them to land-hungry black people; grab chunks of the country’s wealth from white folks, and end dreadful slums in Soweto and behind Table Mountain in Cape Town, etc. Mandela could not charm away inequalities of 300 years of brutal racial exploitation.

That failure began the erosion of people’s faith in the ANC. This theme of ANC’S ‘’decline’’ has reached its lowest level under Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency where in the symbolically resonating Mandela Bay, for example, the party’s support dipped to winning 48 seats each with an infant Democratic Alliance.

The election was contested by a marathon-race crowd of 325 political parties; 95,000 candidates and 1,500 Independent candidates. The ANC won a clear majority of councilors in 161 municipalities. Its nearest contenders, the Democratic Alliance, won majorities in a paltry 13; while the radical Economic Freedom Front (EFF) won majorities in 10 municipalities. In a total of 69 municipalities no party won a clear majority, and may have to go into coalitions.

There is a recognition that only ONE-THIRD of registered voters cast votes. Ramaphosa, and most television experts, attributed the loud boycott to ‘’loss of confidence in all political parties’’. What is avoided is the possible effect on the ‘’boycott majority’’ of the seeming collusion between the government and the apex of the Judiciary to disgrace former president, Jacob Zuma, by throwing him into prison; provoking massive looting and arson by poor Blacks.

As a brilliant head of the Intelligence branch of the ANC despite President Piet Botha’s programme of assassinating ANC leaders outside South Africa, Zuma held a symbolic mystique for the vast majority of ANC supporters. He was a student of Nelson Mandela and senior prisoners on Robben Island. For them the judges who rushed him into prison recalled the legacy of Nelson Mandela and co-leaders of the struggle for freedom.

Memories are important in influencing electoral behaviour. Studies show that tradition of family support by grandparents and older ancestors influence choices of voters in American elections. The anti-ANC rhetoric in the post-election comments by the white leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) has echoes of historical bitterness against those who challenged the control of racist governments and their supporters.

The Youth kept away from voting as protest against massive unemployment. Zuma had swelled the number of children from poor families attending university education through a government scholarship scheme. They and their parents are unlikely to abandon him. The white middle class would see them as threats knocking at their gates, and voted for the revival of the Freedom Front, an Afrikaner/Boers tribal party. The Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP) based on Zulu nationalism, grabbed support from the ANC among protesters against the humiliation of their son, Jacob Zuma.

The solid ‘’boycott’’ of ANC was not attracted by the hundreds of smaller parties. They voted for the ANC by stomping their feet at home on solid history of the fight for equality, dignity and freedom. President Ramaphosa told elected councillors to ‘’listen to the communities that they represent’’. He should note that ‘’alliance with foreign and local business interest discredits electoral democracy’’, and may herald a return to gunning down hungry Black African anger.

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Source link : https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2021/11/11/zuma-and-south-africas-municipal-elections/

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Publish date : 2021-11-10 23:48:45

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