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The season for kissing babies, cutting ribbons to open pit toilets and non-existent stadiums is upon us

The newly opened R15 million Enoch Mgijima Stadium. Picture: Enoch Mgijima Municipality/Facebook

The newly opened R15 million Enoch Mgijima Stadium. Picture: Enoch Mgijima Municipality/Facebook

Published Oct 12, 2021


OPINION: The heavy load we’ve carried since the pandemic started has brought home just how petty, transparent and basic politicians are. The electioneering has been ridiculous and we should punish the muppets at the polls, argues Gasant Abarder.

Who are you gonna call? Not you, Angus, because I’ll probably get an automated voice message system. That is what happens when your power unexpectedly goes out on a Sunday morning at 8am. Without warning. And it stays off until well after 4pm.

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‘The city that works’ claims they put a notice in the neighbourhood letterboxes. Yet, you send me an SMS to tell me my car license is expiring or my municipal account is due, don’t you?

So, when you come at us on the social media posting about how you’re re-tarring road surfaces, fixing street lights or filling potholes, excuse us all when we’re over here being sceptical – especially since a local government election looms large.

The common refrain I’ve heard from Joe Public is: “Who do we vote for?”

Yes, we’re there: an undecided electorate. Why? Because we’re tired of empty promises, grandstanding and running next door to check if the neighbour’s power is also down or our prepaid units have run out. Again! We’re tired of hearing that the city works when there are people living on islands surrounded by ankle-deep muck and paying over odds for power that is sometimes on, or a drought levy when our dams are overflowing.

You, the politician in the ill-fitting suit, have let us all down. You sit there without a hint of irony. In the blue corner, saying let’s do more and pretend it’s not you who has run this city since the last few elections. In the green corner, saying we’ll fix potholes and sewerage when you’ve been in charge on the country for 27 years. (Orange house thought a boxing analogy was GOOD!)

Do you think this is a sequel of Men in Black where you’ve erased our memories like Will Smith with that little silver device?

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Social media has made the run up to this election all the more annoying. In real time, we can watch you kissing babies, cutting ribbons to open pit toilets and non-existent stadiums and wiping dribble off the chin of a senior citizen you’re feeding for the cameras.

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And Angus, what the heck were you thinking posting that video of your failures. You who were the ward councillor of Bonteheuwel these past few years, right? So, let us understand: you’re trolling yourself with that downright embarrassing video? Nadeem Parker, you did a helluva job on the production, mate, but that is where it stops being good. There aren’t enough eye drops to unsee that abomination.

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It’s been own goals galore for the DA in particular.

Those posters in Phoenix, the heartless approach to the homeless in Cape Town, the politician who broke a promise to review a bylaw exempting calls to prayer and who is now running as a ward councillor in Athlone, retweeting a fake video of Peter de Villiers, and not even attempting to butcher someone’s name at a public event because there are too many vowels. They’re fish in a barrel yet those hoping to make inroads on their strongholds can’t seem to capitalise because they’re equally awful.

The one good thing to come out of these elections is the end of an error. An error called Dan Plato. Thankfully, he won’t be running for another term as mayor of Cape Town. It was ill-fated from the moment of his premature eruption during his first tenure – when he imploded the Athlone towers before the countdown reached zero. We just knew he wasn’t destined for greatness.

It’s time to recharge the batteries in your back, Dan, and rest the circuits of the remote control. You’re going to need it to stand up for your next cushy job as a reward for being a good cadre.

No, Angus, I’m not going to call on you for anything (Djy bly nie eens in Bonteheuwel nie!). If we look hard enough and take a bit of trouble, we’ll realise we deserve better and there is a ward councillor and mayor who will work in our best interests.

We have to vote but that is just one act of being an active citizen. Take back the power and make them sweat for your vote. And you, retrieving teddy bears from a stormwater drain: go home, you’re embarrassing yourself!

* Abarder, who recently launched his book, Hack with a Grenade, is among the country’s most influential media voices. Catch his weekly column on Cape {town} Etc.

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