May 20 2011
For years now, viewed through the windows of the Daily and Sunday Suns, it’s been clear that LOTS of people are VERY unhappy with so-called service delivery.
Many of them have even taken up cudgels and rampaged through the streets to vent their rage.
It happened all over Mpumalanga in recent months and east, west, north and south of Jo’burg as well.
It got so bad that people were caught in toe-to-toe combat with the cops. In Ficksburg, on the Free State / Lesotho border, the anger turned calamitously deadly!
By any measure these protests are now always angry and violent.
In North Africa, where similar street uprisings took place, governments toppled. Here, nothing like that even surfaced…
And although the ANC has dropped a FEW percentage points of support in the latest local government elections, it is clear that 6 out of 10 South African voters are STILL ANC supporters.
It’s almost as if they don’t connect their unhappiness over service delivery with the ANC…
The ANC’s reputation as the liberator from apartheid is still much stronger than its more recent reputation as a messer-up of local government.
And this of course is despite the fact that the ANC controls the vast majority of municipal wards in SA.
For our readers, there is decay and corruption among ANC councillors wherever they care to look.
It’s against that confusing background that we contemplated our traditional advice to voters on the eve of elections this time around.
Here’s what we came up with:
This time we said on page 1 in a SunSays Opinion piece: “The vote was for YOU. It was not about anything other than YOU and YOUR life.” (see picture >>)
So look out of the window, we said. If you see clean running water, a good road, dependable electricity and no corrupt municipal officials out there, then – happy day – your local council is working for you: vote for them.
If you don’t see all these joyous things outside your window, but still have faith that the promises will be kept, then again: vote for your council.
But if you look through your window and see sewage running through potholes… if you see broken houses and promises…. Then it is about time to be selfish: kick the bums out!
Vote for the party that you think is more likely to help you. Self interest is nothing to be ashamed of, we said. Maybe it is long overdue.
In the way of such things I have long been deeply suspicious of the power of newspapers to influence people’s votes. The whole of the English-language press combined did nothing in its decades-long battles against apartheid.
But who knows? Maybe this time their slowly-slipping majority will be enough to spur this ruling party into serious action to fix what’s broken.
On behalf of all their readers, the Suns sure hope so!
Deon du Plessis