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No to spoilt vote, yes to strategic one

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IOL  PN  Kasrils Vukani

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Ronnie Kasrils at the a launch of the Vukani Sidikiwe campaign. Picture: Antoine de Ras

Vukani Sidikwe campaigners have more integrity than the ANC bigwigs who are attacking them, says Max du Preez.

A few weeks ago I joked on Twitter that if I had the stomach for party politics, I would register a party called Nota and contest the election: None of the Above.

A surprisingly large number of people agreed with me.

Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge seem to have shared some of my sentiments with their Vukani Sidikwe campaign.

Only once did I vote in a national election where I had no doubts about my choice of party – the ANC in 1994.

From 1999 on I used my vote not as a statement of support for a party, but as a strategic vote to have a tiny effect on the kind of Parliament that the election would deliver.

I feel the notion that one should have undying loyalty to one political party is becoming outdated.

I will never not vote or spoil my ballot paper, but I see my vote as something very special and personal that should help bring about the kind of future I’d like to see.

I have not decided who to vote for on May 7. There is no political party I feel any special love or loyalty for.

If I get the impression that the Economic Freedom Fighters are going to get less than five percent of the vote, I’ll perhaps vote for them.

I think their policies are dangerous and I hate their politics of hatred, threats and racial insults, but I think it would be good for the mix in the next Parliament if Julius Malema and co have a strong voice there.

I’m particularly keen to see Malema argue for the nationalisation of banks and mines in a debate in Parliament, with the leader of the SACP and senior cabinet minister Blade Nzimande having to reply that it is not ANC policy to seize the commanding heights of the economy.

But I also think our Parliament will be a much better place if Agang’s Mamphela Ramphele is a member.

She may not be a good street fighter as a party politician, but she has a formidable intellect and I find myself agreeing with most things she has said or written.

If it appears to be true, as the latest opinion polls suggest, that Agang will get less than 1 percent of the vote, that’s where my vote will go.

On the other hand, I like and trust Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

He has proved to be an effective parliamentarian and an honest, hard-working politician – and he’s from my home town, and I’ve known him for 30 years.

He deserves to be in Parliament.

I have no doubt who I’ll vote for in the provincial elections.

I live in the Western Cape. I travel to other provinces virtually every week of my life and I have a good idea of how those provinces are being run.

I’m not a DA supporter, but the party has my provincial vote, for purely selfish reasons.

I would also vote for it in a local election – my home is in a DA-run municipality and I have little to be unhappy about.

So I’m really on board with the Vukani Sidikwe campaign, only I don’t believe in spoiling my ballot paper.

I would suggest that the ANC’s reaction to this campaign is all the more reason to not vote for the ruling party on May 7.

Senior ANC leaders have attacked the integrity of Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge.

And yet it is the one quality both of them have much more abundantly than anyone else in Luthuli House.

I did deep research into the ANC-in-exile’s behaviour in neighbouring states; the abuse of power, the harassment, jailing, torture and even execution of dissidents and the corruption of military leaders.

Two military leaders stood out as cleaner than most: Chris Hani and Ronnie Kasrils.

The same cannot be said of their Umkhonto we Sizwe comrade Jacob Zuma.

Kasrils, 76, joined the ANC and then MK in his early twenties and gave his entire life to the Struggle.

He resigned from the cabinet in protest against the Polokwane putsch and the firing of Thabo Mbeki in 2008.

Kasrils was never accused of corruption, abuse of power or a seedy personal life.

Madlala-Routledge worked as an underground operative for the ANC, the SACP and UDF from the late 1970s onwards.

A close family member of mine worked with her when she was deputy minister of defence between 1999 and 2004 and was so impressed with her work ethic, commitment and integrity that he joined the ANC.

When the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe said last week that she couldn’t be taken seriously because she was fired, he didn’t mention that it was because of her principled stance on the reckless Aids denialism of the Mbeki administration.

Vukani! Sidikwe!

* Max du Preez is an author and columnist.

** The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Newspapers.

Pretoria News


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