Some years ago I read a book titled Is SA Too Dumb For Democracy? Not only depressing but scary reading.
One recalls the wish by then Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith for a qualified vote when the writing was on the wall for his government.
The belief was that educated people would vote "sensibly".
Of course, this was discriminatory and remains so today. No true democracy, to my knowledge, has adopted this practice.
This should not prevent us from asking the question — what would SA look like post the December ANC elective conference and the 2019 general elections if only "educated" and presumably "sensible" people qualified to vote?
In this light Zuma has publicly stated that he is opposed to "clever blacks", and perhaps not surprisingly there is a common perception that the ANC wants to keep the voting masses both ignorant and dependent on social grants, thereby ensuring their continued support. The party appears to have been depressingly successful in this regard.
At the past weekend, after yet another pasting in Parliament, Zuma retreated once again to his ignorant base, this time at Kagiso township on the West Rand where he sang the praises of the R1-trillion, unaffordable nuclear deal and lambasted its critics as being in bed with "western agents". To thunderous applause.
The tragedy is that these ignorant citizens hold the power of the vote in their hands, to further promote the Zupta brigade to the detriment of the country and, ironically, themselves.
A qualified vote? With respect to those who are ignorant through no fault of their own, surely a vote is too valuable and, indeed, dangerous a tool to put in the hands of the uneducated.
As things stand, I’m afraid SA is undoubtedly too dumb for democracy.