Tomorrow’s general elections will crystallise South African binary politics. Those who have access to social media are seeing the EFF’s popularity, and if social media is the gauge used to determine the winner, the EFF is touted to win.
However, the EFF and DA will not win the elections despite their popularity on social media, especially if either one is counting on the vote of the youth. Its service delivery failures notwithstanding, the ANC will still win. The question to ask is how will the ANC, having failed to provide service delivery over its years in power, etc, win these elections?
The certain election victory for the ANC emanates from South Africa’s binary politics, which consists of politics of the extraordinary on one hand and normalised politics on the other. The latter terrain of politics, which is critical of the ANC, is dominated by white voters and a minority of edu- cated black middle-class voters who have joined normalised politics, the previously exclusive domain of white voters. In the domain of normalised politics, citizens value the rule of law, rationality, “good governance” and “equality before the law” and have a more liberal stance in politics.
They, however, are on the receiving end of much criticism from fellow blacks and are called names such as “clever blacks” and “sell-outs” for criticising the failures of the ANC-led government. In this domain, young black university students, impatient with the snail’s pace of the ANC have joined the EFF in calling for radical economic policies, such as national- ising banks and expropriation of land without compensation.
Nevertheless, and for reasons such as low youth voter turnout and a gen- eral feeling, more especially among the older generation, of indebtedness or a moral responsibility to vote for the ANC because it liberated them from apartheid, the EFF and DA will still not win. This is because of the politics of the extraordinary practised by a great number of poor blacks who will still support the ruling party.
The politics of the extraordinary is dominated almost exclusively by black voters and is the ANC’s stronghold.
Here in this domain, black people are subjected to a state of bare survival and their lives matter to the ruling party only when it’s elections time.
ANC ruling elites are then quick to blame white people for all the ills in the country instead of owning up to their own failures post-apartheid.
In the domain of politics of the extraordinary, there is high unemploy- ment, poverty, almost daily protests for service delivery and overwhelming dependency on state social welfare programmes. Life in this domain is characterised by the state of death.
Abuse of women and children is rife (not that it is not experienced in the normalised politics domain), as is murder and many other social ills.
So, the question is, why do poor black people continue to vote for the ANC? Racist comments by DA leaders and other white South Africans, such as Penny Sparrow, are increasingly contributing to many black people turning to the ANC with their vote out of anger. The DA’s former leader, Helen Zille, tweeting in praise of colonial- ism and derogatory remarks against blacks by its Dianne Kohler Barnard, for example, serve to contribute to an ANC victory. My view seems to be ech- oed by Ace Magashule who allegedly called on blacks not to vote for any white party or person.
Some may dismiss his view by arguing that Magashule is “merely” posing as a populist, the latter description for anyone who appears anti-white; Magashule’s position is nonetheless clearly detrimental to the DA in terms of gaining black votes, despite the party boasting several senior black leaders. Zille’s tweets praising coloni- alism created the belief among black voters that the DA might bring back apartheid if it ascended to power.
Recent negative comments made by the City of Cape Town’s mayor, Dan Plato, about black African people being a drain on the City’s budget also serves to validate fears of anti-blackness. He might have been referring to blacks from other African coun- tries, but added to criticism against him of xenophobia is also that of a negative attitude towards black Afri- cans in general. The dependence of a great majority of black voters on state welfare programmes has become a politically expedient means of wooing black voters.
It is also evident in the implausible promise made by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to Alexandra township residents in Gauteng that an ANC-led government will build one million houses in the next five years.
ANC dominance post-independ- ence is historical thus must be analysed historically. Black people continue to vote for the ANC not necessar- ily because they still have faith, but because, as mentioned, they fear the DA might bring back apartheid.
As for the rest, South Africa’s binary politics will see to it that we constantly have an ANC-led government.
* Mlambo is a final year Bachelors of Social Science student at UCT specialising in politics and governance and sociology.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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