Let us vote to strengthen and preserve, not to humiliate

Voting day, ballot papers. File Picture: Karen Sandison

Voting day, ballot papers. File Picture: Karen Sandison

Published May 27, 2024


The question for Wednesday, 29 May, is not “Who do you vote for?”

It is too narrow a question, seeking only a particular moment to either confirm your choice or persuade you to change your mind.

There is no such thing as an undecided voter. The overwhelming majority of people are secretive about who they voted for last time – either out of shame or foolishness about their choice.

The pressure to appear “politically correct” makes most people fake “undecided voters”. Our elections have tragically taken on a “lotto draw” image, with people thinking they wasted their vote if their party loses.

A democratic election increases its legitimacy when most of the registered voters vote. So, every registered voter must be urged to vote. Regardless of who wins, the higher the voter turnout, the more legitimate democratic governance is.

An informed voter population is very important. An emotional voter population is very dangerous. For those who remember Brexit, the feeble nationalist emotions, more than the intelligence of the issue, drove the outcome of the Brexit vote.

This is where I wish to make this point: A South African government without the ANC is not a wise move. The historical currency and narrative value of the ANC are hugely important for our future political stability in South Africa.

The ANC’s corruption and mismanagement have blighted its image and destroyed its credibility. But anyone who thinks that we will have national political stability without the ANC is deeply delusional.

This is where the DA has failed in its message to voters. It made them believe that 30 years after democracy, a South Africa, led by a white president and historically white liberal party, is best. The reputational crisis the DA faces is that they may have to face going into a coalition with the ANC. They know this. Therefore they have come up with the “doomsday scenario” of a weakened ANC going into a coalition with the EFF and MK parties, which they, as the DA, must prevent at all costs.

The DA’s message is that it will be the Messiah who, with God-like sacrificial posture, and against its will, will go into a coalition with the ANC to “rescue South Africa”.

If the DA thinks that by humiliating the ANC, voters will migrate into their fold, they are mistaken. And they know this.

The DA does not ever wish to face a strengthened EFF and MK in 2026 and 2029, which will become new political homes for young ANC voters if the ANC is humiliated. A destroyed ANC is not in the DA nor South Africa’s best interest. The ANC knows it has failed South Africa and that Cyril Ramaphosa is a disaster as president.

There are factions within the ANC which wish to move away from the absurdity of some ANC policies and want to operate in the intelligent building and design phase of our democracy.

The sceptic in me believes the reason why the ANC launched its election campaign so late was exactly to weaken it and force it into coalitions with other more centrist parties.

If the ANC wins outright, it will be a nightmare for them. They will be in the arena, but only as a tired old crock, waiting for the eventual knock-out blow.

The horses of history will show us that we need a humbled ANC, not a humiliated ANC.

The humiliation of the ANC will radicalise the youth of this country and drive them into the arms of MK and the EFF and make the 2026 local government elections our 1976. It’s a future that we will wish we never brought upon us.

South African politics is still a numbers game, and the numbers of suffering voters will favour the EFF and MK.

So, to answer the question: who should you vote for? Vote with the full weight of history upon your shoulders. This is not a lotto draw or a Brexit vote.

Vote to build a strong and just democracy and to preserve our narratives of liberation. Both are needed for our future stability, national security, and collective prosperity.

* Lorenzo A. Davids.

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

Cape Argus

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