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Why frustrated South Africans vote ANC
Notwithstanding their faults, it is beyond dispute that the ANC will win in the next election. Exactly how much and whether they will rule “until Jesus comes back“ as per the words of Julius Malema (who since left the ANC to start his own party, the EFF) is a bone of contention. This is because the majority of black voters are emotionally attached to the ANC and the crucial role they played in liberation. This gratefulness persists and gets prioritised by voters when it comes down to the ballot. They freed us. Voting any other way is therefore seen as “selling out“to the liberation project, a kind of turning back and betrayal to those who sacrificed their lives so that you may be free. So that despite this very liberation project being subordinated to, amongst other things, corruption within the party, disappointing revelations like Guptagate, Nkandlagate and many other shenanigans, for a lack of a better word, they maintain strong loyalties amongst many South Africans that keep them where they are.
Over and above the fact that South African politics are organised along racial and ethnic lines, I argue the main reason people will continue voting for the ANC, despite screwing them over, is trust. For many South Africans, It is a question of whether or not anyone else can be trusted. We have already established that the ANC has our best interests at heart.After all they fought the struggle against Apartheid and have continued to be committed to the mandate of bringing development to the poor and previously oppressed (although the extent to which this has happened remains debatable). How is it possible to vote for the DA if you are in a village somewhere in the Eastern Cape when not only do you fear what power in the hands of those who do not have your best interests at heart, but when you still see white privileges far superior that of yours every single day where ever you go? The very white face in the DA posters is the face of the enemy in many parts of the country.
Sadly, the ANC realises that and have exploited it to sustain their dominance despite lacklustre service delivery. The race card is played to the point where the issue of race itself becomes naturalised and desensitised so that complaining of racism may be perceived as just that, playing a card.We know white leaders of opposition parties who have been called “madam “and those black people within her party “tea ladies”. This is done precisely to engender this racial suspicion, that because she is white, she is a madam. And if you follow her you are her tea lady. The salient assumption being that of course, white superiority is essential. Despite your education, if you are in the white party, you are a “tea lady”.
That is what these parties should be cognisant of, going to next year’s elections. That unless people trust their motives in relation to their interests, they will continue to vote for the leading party because at least they know something about them.
The DA need to tackle the racial suspicion; go to the people and have a good chat to them. Agang need to rethink their whole approach as they are perceived by many, including myself, as over the top elites who’s whole outlook does not resonate with South Africans and the EFF need to convince us South Africans that they really want to bring economic freedom despite their leader having a questionable track record shrouded by a history of ostentatious, arrogant displays of wealth and a lavish designer lifestyle driven by high culture.Or else they might as well nap already.