As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t really decided who I am voting on yet, so I figured I would work my way through it by writing out my view of each of the major political parties.
I won’t be talking about the minor identity based parties, because none of them are my identity, and I’m not exactly a fan of identity politics in the first place.
So, I’m looking at the top four contenders.
The New National Credit Act kept us out of the global recession, they produced our only good president (Nelson Mandela) and they are the party that currently has the most experience in actual government.
As Eskom fails to deliver power, corruption is being revealed at all levels of government, unemployment remains above 27%, government offices are judged to be death traps, medical personel are raped on their way to seeing patients and the SAHRC says that telling a group of people they should be grateful that a party in Parliament isn’t calling for genocide yet isn’t hate speech somehow, the ANC think the most important thing that we should be worried about is them losing this next election.
They’re so worried about it, that they still have Jacob Zuma campaigning for them in KwaZulu Natal, and Ramaphosa’s attempts to at least somewhat clean house are stymied by the house being so filthy that some of the dirt has become a load bearing structure that could collapse the whole thing if it were removed.
That and the fact that ANC politicians who try to do something to reduce the corruption risk assassination.
The nearest thing to a major success the ANC had under Jacob Zuma was dealing with the AIDS crisis – which was caused to a large extent by the inaction of the ANC under Thabo Mbeki.
Even if the ANC could somehow clean up its act, the degree of trust required to actually run the country is no longer there. It has repeatedly attacked the tax base throughout the years to distract from its failures, when it fails to deliver on its promises it invariably comes out and blames the private sector.
And when I say tax base, I’m not talking ‘whites’ – black voices that speak up against the corruption within the ANC have historically been dismissed as “clever blacks”.
When Helen Zille called for a tax revolt should the ANC win this next election, her call was not met with universal disapproval, because frankly the ‘private sector’ is sick of being blamed for not doing government’s job.
They’re at least barely competent administrators who do the basics right, they have repeatedly been vindicated on their more skeptical responses to the ANC’s actions, and generally they have been willing to sack popular figures if there is a hint of corruption going on.
Their economic policy.
What the DA wants to do is boost employment by making it easier to fire people, and reducing labour rights. They also want to eliminate minimum wages.
The idea is that this reduces the cost of producing in South Africa, so that we can more or less do what China did and build up a strong export market.
There are a few problems with this.
First we’re in a country which has over 27% unemployment, with 40% if you count discouraged job seekers.
So lets talk about black tax – that’s more or less what happens when a black person gets a job, they’re required by their families one way or another, to support those members of the family who have not.
Which means that making it easier to fire people impacts more than the individuals getting fired. It impacts all the people they’re supporting through their family networks.
Not only that, but China already exists, and engages in currency manipulation in order to artificially keep costs down. That means in order to try and compete with them we’d have to continuously reduce wages and worsen working conditions – which the majority would not accept.
And we’d be doing this in a world market which is currently increasingly protectionist. Donald Trump won in America on the back of essentially pointing out that importing everything from China wasn’t good for America’s factory workers, and that sort of populist ideology is growing everywhere.
So what you end up with is weakening local demand in order to strengthen your exports – just as the world starts moving towards reducing its imports. This is one heck of a gamble.
At its base the DA is still better than the ANC, and their policy is at least a gamble not just throwing money away, but its not a gamble I like.
Our current economic approach is not working, and the EFF represent the most radical departure from that approach amongst all the serious contenders for government.
And it is so radical because they’re fascists.
For example lets look at the EFF manifesto again, specifically their land policy.
The EFF government will redistribute land in a manner that is demographically representative, meaning that black people will accordingly control the majority of the land, as they constitute the majority in South Africa.
So land will be redistributed on the basis of race right?
The EFF government will abolish rentals of all residential land.
And they also ban foreigners from owning land. If you can’t own, and you can’t rent, where can you live?
Even if you aren’t a foreigner, say you get assigned a house in, say the Eastern Cape. You want to move to Johannesburg – except now you can’t because the state hasn’t assigned you a house there, and you can’t rent.
What the EFF land policy amounts to is the Group Areas Act on steroids – where the government can tell you exactly where you’re allowed to live, and government acts to prevent your ability to move.
You can see influx control baked into this policy set.
And this is the EFF’s big gangplank issue, it is the thing that most identifies their party’s core beliefs, and it is downright monstrous.
There is a reason why the EFF trumpets its hatred of white people, Indians and foreigners – it is because it recognises that hate is a powerful motivator that can be used to seize power.
And once they have power, well, go ask the Germans about what happens.
When Jacob Zuma became the leader of the ANC, the leadership of Cope left the party because they couldn’t abide how corrupt he was. Its initial founding involved seeking input from South Africa’s youth, and it has never been driven by racial hate. Their opposition to the EFF for example, is driven by recognising that the EFF are basically evil, and they won’t support that.
Right before its first election, Cope engaged in infighting which resulted in picking a pastor nobody knew much about to become their candidate for the presidency.
And they never really recovered from that. Now it has essentially hit a point where it is so desperate for votes it is courting the Afrikaner right.
It is not so much that they agree with that segment of society, as that they are coming off as a bit needy right now.
And at this point I think Cope should probably merge with the DA, in terms of identity Cope doesn’t have much of a one, and in terms of policy it isn’t that far off.
It needs a central idea for people to rally around in order for us to take it seriously, and so long as it lacks that idea, it is going to remain in the political wilderness.
The ANC and EFF are just outright not options, one’s a pack of crooks, another is a hate-group masquerading as a political party.
Which leaves the DA, which I have serious reservations about, but at least they are a gamble. Cope meanwhile may as well be the DA.
It is really between those two parties at the moment, either that or the purple cow because, well, they appeal to my sense of humour.