It’s Election Day in South Africa, and although we all know who the winners are going to be, a quick perusal of the manifestos and promises of each and every party contesting today’s election clearly shows that whichever one gets in, the citizens of this fine land are going to be living in Utopia for the next five years.
Bring it, baby!
Crime, poverty, unemployment, corruption and laughable foreign policy, which have all been the bane of our collective lives for the past 2½ decades will be swept away. The appalling track record of service delivery (or rather “non-delivery”, lol) will be a thing of the past. I’ve checked what we’ve been promised by the new government and I can tell you that the future is looking pretty bright. If we have any electricity.
Please be aware that this time around, the majority of the population will not be voting for Jacob Zuma’s ANC. Oh no, they’ll be voting for Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC. This is the novel, clean, corruption-free version, with only half of JZ’s cronies in the hotseats. And a leader who saw nothing dodgy going on during his four years as Deputy President (despite… well, see the link above). And who has prosecuted and jailed about exactly zero of those implicated in State Capture and corruption since his promotion to President 15 months ago. And who seems regularly amazed at what a crappy state the country is in.
It’s new. Shiny. A fresh start. Mmmm.
I can’t wait. The next five years are going to be absolutely amazing.
Some few facts for you to help make up your mind on whether I’m being cynical here:
Fact 1: Eskom, our national power utility, a state-owned enterprise, has been run into the ground by mismanagement and corruption under the ANC government. Mainly (entirely?) because of these reasons, it cannot produce enough power to supply the country and so we – fairly regularly – have rolling blackouts. This is called loadshedding. I have written about it a lot. The first significant loadshedding of 2019 began yesterday and looks like it will continue all week.
Fact 2: We’ve got an election coming up in the next couple of months (exact date still TBCMay 8th, see below). We stay in DA-controlled Cape Town, in the DA-controlled Western Cape. All the other 8 provinces are governed by the ruling ANC. There is (obviously) a lot of talk about the election at the moment. It’s safe to say that it’s probably among the Top 5 things that people in SA are aware of right now. Front of mind then.
Fact 3: The (DA-controlled, remember) City of Cape Town has a hydroelectric facility which it can use in times of electricity shortage to mitigate the effects of loadshedding. And it does use this facility, nearly every time there’s loadshedding.
But – how odd – it isn’t using it this time around.
So, the cynic in me is suggesting that the DA is using this opportunity to remind the people of Cape Town just what ANC rule has done for the country. And yes, I’ll be sitting in darkness from 8pm this evening thinking about exactly that. But just a bit of me will be wondering if it could have been different if the DA had not wanted to make a point.
Member of the Executive Council for Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance in the Gauteng Legislature, as well as provincial chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng province and ANC Treasurer General.
It’s a potential watershed day for South Africa today. Yet another no confidence vote on our rotten president in Parliament, but this one has an edge on the previous versions in that it’s a secret ballot. And the opposition parties even had to go to court to get that ‘concession’.
Albeit that the ANC has slowly been losing ground in our comparatively young democracy, it still holds a huge majority. So at least 20% of the ANC MPs must vote against Zuma in order for the motion to pass (assuming that all the opposition MPs also vote that way, which seems (mostly) likely).
JZ and his people have worked hard – in various ways – to ensure that they are well supported within the party. There’s clear evidence of corruption and wrongdoing, but a lot of ANC MPs are involved in those nefarious acts, or they’re willing to overlook them, or they simply don’t care. Previously, anyone from the ANC sticking their anti-Zuma head up above the parapet has been swiftly dispatched, so the secret ballot is an important step. But then what personal reward is there for being on the right side of history if you’re voting anonymously?
Will it be enough to succeed? Probably not, but I’m not sure that anyone actually has any idea. Apart from the fact that the vote might be quite close, there could be individuals who are saying one thing and doing the other – to the benefit of either side. It’s politics, hey?
If a vote of no confidence is successful the President and the entire Cabinet will have to resign. The Speaker becomes acting president. The NA must (within 30 days) elect a new president from among its members.
So Baleke Mbete as Acting President. Frying pans, fires.
And if it fails?
Personally, I think it will be a bigger blow for the opposition parties that they’d like to admit. This is definitely their best chance yet at removing JZ, and they seem to have high hopes. Of course, they’re going to talk up their chances, but when you put that public face on, you have to publicly accept the consequences if or when things don’t go your way.
That said, every time there’s a no confidence vote in Zuma, it damages and fragments the ANC further, and so they will surely go again. The ongoing danger is that by next time, the ruling party has worked out which MPs voted against Zuma and has moved to… remind them of their party “obligations”, and realign them with the JZ faithful.
There’s an air of expectation over Cape Town today. It feels like a big day. It feels like things could change. But no-one is willing to stick their neck out and call it just yet. Personally, I think that there’s no chance of the vote succeeding, but I’m just a humble bacterium wrangler and world famous blogger, not a political expert. And I really have no problem with being wrong on this one. None at all.