Friday, May 07, 2010

David Bullard: the patience of South African voters will eventually snap

Bullard: Whatever the outcome of the election though, you can be sure that the political parties will be working hard to deliver on their election promises. They won't be ordering two luxury cars, trying to reorganise the judiciary or allowing relatives to successfully tender for the building of a new London Bridge. That sort of thing only happens in banana republics.

The mood of the South African people is not good. Optimism isn't evident and even the normally placid middle classes are worried about the future of a country that doesn't seem to have a united government with a single purpose in mind. Nobody likes to be ripped off and then have the added insult of being laughed at for being a sucker. That is precisely what the ANC are doing to all South Africans and my guess is that, eventually, something will snap. You can only push people so far.

SHOOT: Yes it's not a terribly clever ploy to sing songs and politicise this idea of South African whites as the enemy. Quite a few hundred thousand of us employ a number [a few hundred thousand] domestic workers, gardeners and other casual labourers, all of whom depend on these incomes to feed their families. Sure, you can murder your 'racist' boss, steal his phone and graduate to collecting UIF. Here it's the lazy way.  Take what you can, even the other person's life, because your lot is someone elses fault.
The interesting contrast between UK politics and SA politics is that there are three main parties contesting the British election. The three main party leaders have spent the past few weeks scrutinizing the ever changing opinion polls which claim to indicate how Brits will vote today. But it's what happens in the polling booth that counts and that's why a lot of people will be staring at votes when the counting starts tonight.
Unlike SA, the election result is not simply a matter of wondering whether the ruling party will have enough of a majority to fiddle with the constitution. It's a rather more serious matter of putting somebody in the driving seat for the next five years who can reverse the damage that Labour have done to the economy and to the spirit of the country.
The most vivid contrast between the UK political system and ours though is that in the UK it's the different parties that fight one another whereas in this country it's the party in power that fights itself.
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