Ahmed Kajee talks about the factors he considered when deciding who to vote for in today’s Elections.
I have been following the election world quite closely for this election, especially since I am a born-free and I am a first-time voter. Although, all our politicians impressively claim that they intend to further improve our Rainbow nation I do remain skeptical as to which political party actually deserves my vote.
I am not affiliated to any political party so I’m not going to go on about what’s wrong and what’s right with specific parties. But I’ll give you my take on the various issues (surrounding various parties) that came up when I considered who to vote for. The parties I looked at were the ANC, DA, EFF, AGANG and for the sake of good spirit, Sushi King Kenny Kunene’s The Patriotic Alliance.
The African National Congress
With regards to our beloved ruling party The African National Congress, I don’t feel the need to and state what is wrong with the ANC as opposition party leaders seem to be more than obsessed with the same. I’ll state my discontent later, but I feel it’s best I start with what is right with the ANC. Firstly, I am grateful to the ANC for being the fantastic freedom-fighters that they were. Along with many other individuals, the ANC has helped South Africa become the democratic country it is today.
I was not alive during apartheid, so I shall not make any comments based on ignorance about the apartheid regime or the fight for freedom. But I am nonetheless grateful that it is over.
In terms of infrastructure, we, as a country, have developed greatly with new roads, improved railways and the emergence of the richest square-mile in Africa in the form of Sandton.
Looking at international policy, our government’s stance on that Palestine/Israel situation is one that I especially find admirable. Given the past that we as a country come from, it is both sensible and commendable that we empathize with and support the Palestinians. The ANC has also openly joined forces with the Palestine Solidarity Committee and The Israeli Apartheid Awareness Group.
However, looking beyond the positive aspects of ANC, we also need to focus on the various scandals that have engulfed our ruling party. These include issues around the President’s homestead Nkandla and e-Tolls. Various other issues including corruption and nepotism are also on the list. So simply put, I’m caught between thinking of the wonderful work the ANC has done in the past and the scandals that dominate many South African’s perceptions in the present.
The Democratic Alliance
Looking at The Democratic Alliance, the party with leader Helen Zille has been in charge of the Western Cape since the last elections. It is clear when visiting the Mother City, Cape Town that they have done great work. Although, unfortunately when I say Cape Town I’m referring to Clifton and Camps Bay. Those areas are just beautiful but those areas are not the entire Western Cape.
Unfortunately, one cannot forget the human waste saga where disgruntled residents threw human waste at the Western Cape government buildings. This highlighted the fact that there are issues in the Western Cape, including access to sanitation.
Another issue I have is their position on the Palestine/Israel situation. While there has been some confusion about the party’s official stance of late, going by past “on the record” declarations, I think their stance is unacceptable. Given our country’s segregated and oppressive past, to not recognize and state publicly that Israel is an Apartheid state is pretty awful.
Linking to the DA (for a very short time) was newly emerged political party AGANG led by Mamphela Ramphele. I think Ramphele stands for a lot of good causes and I really do think she’s done wonderful work in the past with Steve Biko.
However, how do they expect to win my vote if their start and more specifically their short alliance to the DA was so shaky? I can only assume their international relations with other countries will be much better. Other than that, I can only wish them the best of luck in the elections.
The Economic Freedom Fighters
On to one of our favorite characters in the political sphere – queue the music and roll the drums – Mr. Julius Malema. Malema earned quite the reputation as a result of his tenure as the head of ANC Youth League. But since his exit from that party he formed The Economic Freedom Fighters. This party calls for various changes including the nationalization of various industries (including mines and banks), land expropriation and more. While I think that such policy is likely to scare off foreign investors, there are certain parts of the party’s policies that are positive. These include an increased minimum wage and free education amongst other things.
However, this is not enough for me personally to vote for them in this election.
The Patriotic Alliance
Finally on my list is The Patriotic Alliance whose leaders are Gayton McKenzie and the one and only Mr. Kenny Kunene. I watched an election debate involving the EFF, ANC, DA, Patriotic Alliance and Cope. I was highly impressed by the rebuttals as well as the policies of the Patriotic Alliance and I was honestly thinking of voting for them. Unfortunately, a few weeks later I watched the Comedy Central Roast of the party’s central member Kenny Kunene. The material in that roast (even if it was comedy) was quite controversial. That made me think, do I honestly want to be voting for someone who appears as a central figure on a comedy special, which is rated 18 for language and prejudice?
So in conclusion while I am going to vote, at this stage I still feel that there are realistically no political parties that I believe deserve my vote. There are just too many flaws, too many extreme policies and too much lip service. If the voting polls were tied and my vote was the vote that led to a victory for one party; my mind would be filled with scorpions. – Thank you Macbeth for help on that one, appreciated.