President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

In his latest column Peter Bruce (Thick end of the wedge, 6 Dec 2018) repeats his argument that, taken to its logical conclusion, all of us should vote for the ANC in 2019 to give Cyril Ramaphosa a “stronger mandate” of “close to 60% of the vote”, which he can then use to save the ANC from itself.

In so doing, he asks us to close our eyes to what we see around us, and take a gamble on the ANC’s murky internal politics coming up trumps for Ramaphosa.

To do so would be to surrender the power of our vote as the essential tool of accountability in a democracy. Eskom’s bankruptcy and load-shedding, sewerage leaking into the Vaal, escalating unemployment, nationalisation of the healthcare industry, state capture, recession, and so on. It is not possible to ignore what has happened to South Africa, and who is responsible.

But in the desperation for a fairy tale picture of our country, we are told to suspend this part of reality and trust that the same ANC will, in future, act in the public interest. When you strip away the blind hope, this makes no sense. This election is not about saving the ANC. It is about saving South African from the ANC.

To reward a party that already has 62% of the vote, and which has brought us all of the national decay we are now enduring, is not just foolhardy, it’s downright dangerous.

Influential commentators who project all their hope onto the “least bad” ANC candidate are doing our country a disservice. Part of a maturing democracy is moving away from one-party domination, and this often involves fluid coalitions and alliances. This is progress, even if it is really difficult.

But for many people trapped in a mind-set shaped by seventy five years of one-party rule – first under the National Party and then under the ANC – a solution outside of the ANC is simply unfathomable.

Bruce claims there is no real alternative to Ramaphosa, but this reveals his flawed thinking. It is not a Ramaphosa alternative we should be seeking, but an ANC alternative. And that alternative exists.

Just this week the DA-governed Midvaal received its fifth consecutive clean audit to go with the lowest unemployment rate in Gauteng. The DA-governed Western Cape achieved 83% clean audits – lightyears ahead of the next best province, Gauteng, at 52%. And in the past year, half of all new jobs added in South Africa came from the DA-run Western Cape, despite the province representing just 12% of the country’s labour force.

Given our massive challenges in South Africa, these are the numbers that really matter. And when you’re voting for a party as opposed to a personality, this is all the alternative you need.

 

Geordin Hill-Lewis MP
Democratic Alliance