Day 602 – Democracy at work

More from this story.

Pretty clear stuff here…

But then, suddenly yesterday…


Surely this change of heart is solely due to compromises on policies and outcomes leading to better service delivery, because – let’s be honest – what could go wrong? Their track record on this sort of thing is perfect:

The refusal by the IFP to co-govern municipalities with the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is a culmination of decades of mistrust arising from what the IFP perceives to be unkept promises to the electorate and a disgraceful breach of a solemn undertaking to its leadership.
In the words of IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa, the ANC cannot be trusted as it “has not been honest with us in the past. They have let down (the) people of South Africa, and the voters clearly expressed themselves when it comes to the ANC.”

But that was last week.

This week, they’re the best of friends and everything is going according to plan so more politicians can have more power.

Who could have seen it coming?

Day 601 – All going as well as predicted

Remember the elections a couple of weeks ago? They were (mostly) an unmitigated disaster, with a lot of hung municipalities across the country. I said then that rather than this being an exciting, new democratic age full of hope, transparency and better government, we were more likely to head down the route of egos, money and general crap, meaning that there will be constant infighting for power and nothing will get done properly for the next 5 years.

An aside: Cape Agulhas Municipality still hasn’t even got a council set up because they can’t decide who is going to run it. And that – if you recall – was the best run municipality in the whole country.
Now? Completely dysfunctional while we wait for them to sort themselves out.

But that is all part of the democratic process. I do get it.
So you might have thought that I was being a bit negative.
After all, how bad could it be?


Yep. You read right.

He raped a 15-year-old in 2004. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison.
He appealed to the Western Cape High Court. While his conviction wasn’t overturned, his sentence was reduced by Judge Lee Bozalek to a wholly suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20 000 fine and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.

And now he’s mayor of Kannaland Municipality, because ICOSA managed to be the largest party in the area, and they are helpfully being propped up by the ANC, who would rather these two delightful gentlemen ran the place than giving the DA any chance of getting in. Horrific.

But then there is only so much for which the format of the elections can be held responsible. Child rapist Donson and fraudster Meshoa wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be in charge if over 8,000 people hadn’t voted for them on the 1st.
No wonder they are smiling.

Just how disgusting does your story have to be before voters choose not to support you? Where does that put the other parties? How bad are they that these guys were the best choice? It’s terrifying.

Anyway, I’m thoroughly sickened for the day already, so I’ll be elsewhere, hoping and praying (such as it is) that there is nothing close to this awful story in the ongoing and upcoming coalition negotiations across the country.

Day 588, part 2 – Does advertising work? – a comprehensive study

I was over on Robben Island last week, on a trip well-documented on this blog. Robben Island doesn’t have many residents: it does vary depending on what’s going on on the island , but probably fewer than 120 on an average day. That doesn’t mean that their voting right should be forgotten though, and indeed, they can vote on the island – which is part of Cape Town’s Ward 54 – at the John Craig Hall (it’s named after one of the harbour engineers).

While we were staying over, some election posters appeared outside. There must have been about 25 of them down the road from the prisons into the village. All for one party. So nice to see a happy face.

(I’ve chosen to leave those unused 9.2inch WW2 shells – now used as road bollards – in shot. Seemed appropriate.)

Otherwise, it seemed like the island had been passed over in terms of the election. Which was quite nice, actually. No-one needs more election news. Ever.

Anyway, with 92% of the votes counted at the time of writing, the DA have held onto the city, with over 60% of the vote:

But look at that: a cursory glance will show you that the EFF recorded the most votes at just 2 (two) voting stations across the entire metropole: at UWC – those pesky young firebrands! – and… wow… John Craig Hall on Robben Island!

With just 31 votes in their favour (vs 19 for the ANC, 5 for the DA, 2 each for the ACDP and the VF+ and a whole 1 for the LAND party) (and none for Patricia de Lol)…

…it might have cost almost a poster per cross in the box, and is totally overwhelmed by the 92% voting for the DA in Camp’s Bay et al. but the result is there for all to see.

Robben Island is red.

From this, we can conclude that advertising clearly does work, and the Ad Wizardry of putting up 25 posters on a chunk of rock 6km from civilisation… was probably (possibly) almost certainly worth the effort.

Day 587 – No overall winner, many overall losers

Elections aren’t actually a zero sum game. I mean, in numbers, they might appear so, but when translated into actual meaning, obviously things can change drastically. Because as soon as any one of those numbers dips below 50%, it’s game on for coalitions and kingmakers in these marriages of inconvenience. And that’s when things get stupidly complicated and fall apart in SA. And it’s always service delivery that suffers.

Now you might think that I’m being a bit pessimistic about how this is going to go – Danish Ambassador Tobias Elling Rehfeld certainly does:

But aside from finding that common platform of priorities – and sticking with it – there’s the big question of egos.
[TW: gross generalisations approaching] Here’s a hypothesis: in the Danish model, politicians get into politics to make a difference to the people of their ward and country. Sadly, around here, it’s more about self-enrichment, personal power and standing, and inflating one’s own ego. We’ve seen it time and time again: look at Malema wanting more than the ANC and then repeatedly flip-flopping on every issue whichever way makes him popular; look at de Lille flitting from one party to another, taking credit for the good bits, refusing the responsibility for the bad ones; look at the Mongameli Bobani and the NMB debacle; look at Tshwane a few years back. Disastrous.

Why wouldn’t it happen in these new-found situations as well? After all, as TER goes on to say:

But while that would certainly benefit the actual electorate, that’s not what the politicians in question want.
Quite the opposite.

Joburg is a particular mess. The last projected results I saw left even the most probable (or potentially stable) coalitions sitting on about 45% each. I’ll be delighted if I’m wrong, but I fear that it spells out 5 years of bickering, infighting and lack of service delivery for the city as one or other side tries to balance up 12 x 0.5%s to get over the line. Fugly.

Nationwide, the appalling turnout and the bitty results do show an overall dissatisfaction and disenchantment with the larger parties and the current system. But given that the three largest parties still look likely to get to somewhere around 80% overall, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to listen to that message. So it’s up to the smaller parties to tell us just how amazingly they’ve done, while not wielding any actual power, while the big dogs explain away their losses and disappointment with spin and smoke and mirrors.

Or just outright denial.


Oh. And someone will blame white people. Somehow.

The only really good bit about yesterday was the utterly disastrous hilarious crash and burn of the Cape Party. Again. They were still belligerently chucking out hyperbole and mixed idioms yesterday during the voting:

For the record, there was no sleet or snow. A few heavy rain showers is all.
And surely the water surrounding the allegedly sinking ship (whatever that represents) might actually be a good place to be of the ship is actually going down and the rest of the world is ablaze. Take a lifebelt. And don’t pretend that you care about “the future of our children” when you go around supporting anti-vax protests.

Bunch of…

Whatever their plan was, it didn’t work. Who could have thought that appropriating and subtly altering the word “Brexit” with all its resounding economical successes and feelgood news stories into “Capexit” would have such a devastating effect upon their (minimal) potential election success?

So weird. So sad.





Day 585 – Municipal Election day

It is, as you may have gathered from the title above, Municipal Election day in South Africa. A great day to avoid social media. (OK, that’s every day but especially so today.)

Gotta love politics.


But today marks another opportunity to choose the least worst party to run things in your locality for the next 5 years. I say “least worst”, because the best performing municipality in the entire country (and it was Cape Agulhas, nogal!!) scored just 65/100 on a local news site’s ranking system. Nationally, the average score was 45.

Room for improvement? Definitely. But who’s going to be able to do it?

Well, love them or hate them (and remembering that we don’t use social media as any sort of barometer for anything around politics, kids), there’s clear evidence that the DA run municipalities better than other parties run municipalities. 8 of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 here are controlled by the DA, and that for a party that only runs 25 of the county’s 278 municipalities.

Are they perfect? Far from it.
Would they make a good national governing party? I’m not convinced.
Are they the best party for running municipalities? Yes. Yes, they are. Clearly.

I’m not a DA member. I’m not even allowed to vote.
I’m only allowed to pay my taxes. Then other people get to decide what happens to them.
I’d just like them used well.

Too much to ask? Too much to ask.

The fact is that what is – somewhat obviously – the best choice to run your local municipality can only score 65% for doing just that, is a sad indictment on just how poor out political choices are at the moment.

Still, you should do YOUR research and you should vote for whomever you believe will run YOUR ward best (or least worst), and not be swayed by promises that can’t be kept by municipal councils – even if that party sweeps to a landslide victory in your ward – you’re not going to end lockdown or enable Western Cape secession. Look out for promises that they know they’ll never have to keep.

Oh, and obviously avoid anything or anyone who has anything to do with Patricia de Lille.
That’s just common sense.