Trevor Manuel Picture: Shanti Aboobaker

 Johannesburg - National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has slammed the Sidikiwe! (We Are Fed Up) Vukani! (Arise) Vote No! campaign by his former comrades Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge as “destructive”.

Manuel was voting in Killarney, Joburg, where he lives.

“It’s just kind of been destructive. It’s a silly kind of approach,” he said.

This was because Kasrils and fellow leaders of the campaign had not encouraged voters to make “an informed decision” based on the policies or manifestos of political parties, he said.

Instead, the Vote No campaign is aimed at voting against the ANC, as opposed to voting for the specific party proposals of a smaller political party.

“I think it’s a silly campaign. I think we have to have people make informed choices. If the call of Ronnie Kasrils was for people to make an informed choice that’s one thing, but the way in which this thing is cast I think it lays the basis for confusion,” Manuel said.

“What is the measure of success? Because there’s been a reasonable number of spoiled ballots all the way through, so what do you do now? I can’t quite understand the rationale.”

Manuel said Wednesday’s election marked the end of his career as a public representative.

“So it’s been an amazing period. And I’ve tended to do things besides hang out at the (IEC) results (operations) centre. In fact this is the first time I’m voting in Gauteng. My constituency’s in Mitchells Plain, but I tended to vote where I lived,” he said.

But he remained forward-looking when voting.

“I think it’s very important that we never lose sight of where we come from and how that creates responsibilities for us. The responsibility to vote is actually (articulated) in the National Development Plan and calls for active citizenship.

“It’s not something we can cop out from – we have to take that responsibility and be engaged in what happens. Failing which we don’t have a democracy.

“So it’s about the past but it’s also about the future,” he told Independent Newspapers.

But he was concerned about a “cleavage developing” between his generation and “how it relates to history in a particular way and successive generations who’ve grown up in a different environment”.

“We’ve got to ensure that we can bridge that divide. Elections call for a consciousness around renewal, because the quality of democracy is a key measure that we must commit to when we vote like this.”

Political Bureau