The election issue of 2024 is: What is the plan to end gross, inhumane and lingering black poverty? No other issue is going to dominate this election as much as this one.
South Africa has about 10 years left of “life as we now know it.” If there is no credible and substantially sound plan to end gross, inhumane and lingering black poverty, South Africa will become a violence-torn outpost, where the rich come to play in carefully crafted securitised enclaves and the poor live in violent, dehumanising squalor.
The citizens of this country must insist that the party they vote for shows them its plan to end gross, inhumane and lingering black poverty. With a population of 62 million, the majority of South Africa’s 55.3 million collective black population, who make up 92% of the population, live in the most inhumane and gross poverty conditions compared to their 4.7 million white counterparts, who make up 7.3% of the total population.
Without a politically credible and sound plan to end the gross, inhumane and lingering poverty of black people, the South Africa that our Constitution envisions is doomed. Black people have run out of patience. The short-lived life of the RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme), mostly an “intention document” and not a plan, was done away with by the ANC in 1996.
With its newfound faith in global economics, it allowed Gear (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) to dictate our future. And so it did – but only for the educated classes who owned businesses. It was a few glorious years, despite the arms deal scandal. With its displaced faith in the trickle-down economics of Gear, it never developed a new plan to end gross, inhumane and lingering black poverty.
When I say that black people have run out of patience, I mean it. The silly election politics currently at play will come back to bite us. The DA continues telling South Africa it is the credible alternative to the ANC. With a municipal service delivery record far better than the ANC or the EFF, it fails to understand that black poverty is more than municipal services.
Uplifting people is associated with humanising people’s existence, recognising their inherent rights, dignified work, and decent treatment, and not policing black bodies as its main election sales point.
The ANC, on the other hand, believes that all they have to do is visit a few poor people at election time in their homes or spaza shops while driving their German luxury cars, and their poverty commitments are fulfilled.
In 1994, with global financial institutions knocking greedily on the ANC’s doors, we saw the doomed life of the RDP and its exhausted advocates like Ben Turok and Jay Naidoo.
Since 1996, the ANC has not crafted a politically credible and sound plan to end the gross, inhumane and lingering poverty of black people. It has given us many economic plans such as Gear, ASGISA, and the NGP, as well as the NDP vision document, but its outworkings and impact on the gross, inhumane and lingering poverty of black people have had no substantial impact.
Our unemployment rate is at 41.2%. Our poverty and inequality levels are of the worst in the world. Our measured poverty rates indicate that the poorest measured income is R760 a person a month. We also know of people who only earn R350 a month. This money can only buy food for four days.
Election 2024 is an election about justice. About digging ourselves out of a looming national uprising. The few black millionaires and multiple white millionaires are not who we are. South Africa is in a political ICU ward, on life support.
While most see beautiful beaches, the marvellous Karoo, or expensive urban malls, I see the rising black anger of 92% of the population.
Without a politically credible and sound plan to end the gross, inhumane and lingering poverty of black people, we are signing our constitutional demise.
* Lorenzo A. Davids.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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