Lorenzo A Davids writes that as we approach the local government elections in October, we need to take off our party-tainted political spectacles and have conversations about justice. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
Lorenzo A Davids writes that as we approach the local government elections in October, we need to take off our party-tainted political spectacles and have conversations about justice. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

#AnotherVoice: Elections are about justice – for all

By Lorenzo A Davids Time of article published May 25, 2021

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The thing about having been oppressed is that you never stop the awareness of your experiences of oppression.

Much like rape and abuse, the realities of that experience is always with you – it sits front of mind and you develop coping mechanisms to guide you through the day. But you never forget it, never get over it or move on without it as the instinctive interpreter of your lived realities.

The consequence of the European colonial framework and Hendrik Verwoerd’s apartheid policies and practices is that it hardwired the oppressed for justice. That’s the one advantage of having been oppressed: you smell injustice, oppression, co-option and inequality a hundred miles off.

There are those in the oppressed community who mute their sense of justice. They very readily move on, like an abused partner, and make their oppressors believe that all is forgiven and that we can all proceed to move on together now. We all know that the therapeutic value of such practices is nil and that the abuse will reoccur continuously.

The South Africa of 2021 is a South Africa that has paid scant attention to justice.

The oppressed of 1976 have told the children of 2021 that a minimum wage of R21.69 is acceptable, that living in flooded housing areas is acceptable, that being homeless and landless is acceptable and that having corrupt and uneducated leaders is acceptable. This is not the justice we fought for. We have accepted that a Norma Mngoma can say on live television that R3 000 is meaningless to her.

At the same time, her government says that this is the wage the poor in South Africa should put up with and then shut up.

We have accepted that Helen Zille can train the leadership class of 2021 that being awake and aware of structural and cultural and political injustice is a basis for our future lack of achievement as a country.

The view that an insistence on justice as a framework for community and social engagement will be bad for us is the scare tactics of the populist rightwing. We can add in the Jacob Zuma’s Houdini circus antics and the EFF’s Money Heist Season 24, and you can quickly see that we have a country where the political leadership has muddled up the righteous orientation towards justice with privilege and entitlement.

As we approach the local government elections in October, we need to take off our party-tainted political spectacles and have conversations about justice.

Every political speech must be filtered whether it meets the criteria for justice. If we don’t we will continue to go back to our political party abusers and give them another chance.

The 1994 national elections were about the freedom and right to vote.

The local government elections this year are about the right to a decent and dignified life. These rights are two sides of the same coin. But for the last 27 years, much of our politics has been traded on only one side of the coin – the freedom and right to vote.

A dignified and decent life for its citizens has played second fiddle to the politics of Pretoria and the capabilities of Cape Town.

The electorate should not accept uninterrogated manifestos and political speeches. We should use the hardwiring we all developed during our resistance to apartheid to drive the justice outcomes we require. We should question candidates on how they are orientated to spatial, economic and social justice.

We should not be led astray by speeches that lay all the blame on opposition failures and never clarify the challengers’ views. If you lived through apartheid as a person who opposed it, you are hardwired for justice. Stop caving into abuse. You owe your country your unequivocal commitment to a just, free and fair democracy.

Oppression was the university in which you learnt about justice – for all. Now use your vote to give expression to that education.

* Lorenzo A Davids.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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