Last weekend the great, the good - and a whole lot at the other end - got together in Durban to celebrate the ANC’s birthday. Held on the nearest weekend to January 8, the bash effectively provides a sneak preview for what the rest of us can expect for the year ahead from government.
This year, though, is different. The January 8 statement almost immediately became a party manifesto for the elections that loom in May. As one wag pointed out earlier this week, the ANC’s made its promises, now all it has to do will be to find the voters.
This is going to be a highly contested election. There’ll be plenty of accusations, spinning, fake news - and maybe even a little bit of truth in all the claims between the ruling ANC and the pretenders to the throne; the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Spare a thought, though, for the voter. We’re facing a choice of more than 258 political parties when we walk into the voting booth. Some of them will be nuanced in their approach, so nuanced in fact that you might be forgiven for thinking you're voting for a TV station when in fact you’re actually making a tick against the Economic Native Congress of Azania.
Jimmy Manyi has joined the African Transformation Movement, after first trying the AADC which sounded like a rock group for the OCD.
As journalist Philip de Wet noted, “Say what you will about @MzwaneleManyi, but he’s efficient. Most new parties have to go through a tedious honeymoon phase before getting to the internal dissent and legal action. He got there in a day.”
There’re no flies on our Jimmy, the “media mogul” who made vendor financing sound like Venda financing long before Schadenfloyd and the EFF looted the VBS. There are some who think ATM isn’t just a literal piggybank, but Atul Told Me, an unabashed Gupta-bot like Andile Mnxgitama’s Black Land First. Even though it was apparently founded by disaffected uMsholozi loyalists - the name should still sound a bit tone deaf for South African voters, dispensing change only to those on its payroll.
Manyi’s not the only Zuma-ite looking for a place in the Cape Town sun; Hlaudi Motsoeneng, His Master’s Voice, not only fancies himself as an MP but as a future president. In an obvious bid to be alphabetically better, if little else, than the ATM, he’s calling his party the African Content Movement - harking back to his ruinous mismanagement of the broadcaster.
It’s reminiscent of the ruses sex workers would get up to get higher billings in the classified sections of newspapers; like the one who listed herself as AAAAAAAAAAAAAAABeautfully Blonde Swazi maiden, which just reading it out aloud sounded like a happy ending.
Carl Niehaus, living proof that white men can’t dance, is one fringe political figure who obviously hasn’t felt the compulsion to register his own party. Given his litany of financial woes (and with apologies to @SaxonwoldShebeen), perhaps he could try for Progressive Organisation for Economic Sustainability at the next elections?
Who knows? It might even work.
* Kevin Ritchie is a media consultant. He is a former journalist and newspaper editor.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.