God, Mandela, and your vote
Dehydrated and exhausted, I’m writing from my hospital bed, because I felt I needed to when all this came to mind, and share it with my family, friends and all the people of the Western Cape. These past few months have been hard, but not as hard as this past days. But my Father is in Control…
I hope this letter finds you well, in troubled times, in our province and our country, but I return to the Western Cape from Limpopo filled with hope and optimism for the future of our country. The Economic Freedom Fighters continues to grow, and that augurs well for our constitutional democracy, especially for the poor, the landless and the alienated. I write this to you to ask for your reinforcement of the mandate that we will receive from people all over this country on voting day.
This elections period has seen both the ANC and the DA deploy the language of religious and political iconography to distract you from the truth or emotionally blackmail your votes out of you. By pointing to the sky, they have kept your eyes off the material conditions around you – the lack of sanitation, services and proper housing, the poverty, the alienation, the crime, gangs and drugs – material conditions that directly and indirectly affect the majority of us, but mainly the poorest of us.
Jacob Zuma says that the ANC will rule until Jesus comes again, while the DA has chosen to advertise that Nelson Mandela will smile on you from Heaven if you vote for them. In both cases these parties use deities, both religious and political, as a fig leaf to cover up their individual and systemic failures in governance and opposition. Jacob Zuma is no prophet, and Mmusi is no messiah.
If Jacob Zuma is right, then it may well be that the Economic Freedom Fighters would be the harbinger of Jesus’ arrival. Faced with possible Kingmaker status in municipalities in Gauteng, the Son of Man may well land in Tshwane, stop-over in Johannesburg, before embarking on a nationwide tour of the various councils and wards where the ruling party would be relegated to the opposition.
Of course, JZ’s reckless pronouncements of divine mandate say much more about his own God complex as Number One and should not be taken literally, because it implies that absent, corrupt or dysfunctional public representatives working in a system that is ethically biased against the poor has some sort of celestial endorsement. It’s just more nonsense from our country’s Number One perpetual one-man disaster machine, and its designed to distract you. It’s a smokescreen to hide that where it governs, it steals. Where it opposes, it colludes or falls asleep on the job. The ANC is an inward-looking organization, hurt by splits, riven with factions in every province. When the voters punish the ANC at the polls, it would be a well-deserved hiding.
The DA, having abandoned spinning figures, now choose to tell you that Nelson Mandela has started a DA branch in Heaven. It’s a smokescreen that has worked very well, because it has generated a huge amount of attention on that issue, while it has moved the spotlight away from the contradictions between what it says and what it does where it governs. It not only refuses to reveal, let alone reverse, the historical pattern of land appropriation by capital, it continues to seize land. Where it governs in the Western Cape, it has commoditized land according to its own agenda, asset stripping the province with private developers as the main beneficiary at the expense of the poor and our human and environmental capital. It has continued its neoliberal programme of denying wealth and access to the generation of wealth, by and for the true benefit of the poor, by selfishly holding onto the keys to the kingdom – land as capital. It has no solution to the problem of gang violence. It lies and spins figures that misrepresent it as a party of the poor, all the while retaining a hypnotic hold on the majority coloured population of the Western Cape through the message of fear, implanting a belief that stagnation is “progress”, that economic limbo is good, perpetuating the myth of Black and Coloured Incompetence / White Competence.
But never mind that, because their new found political Deity, Nelson Mandela, supposedly endorses them. They don’t want you to #See, or #LookAroundYou. The DA want you to #Believe in their whitewashed God-version of Mandela. From their advert, (featuring his discombobulated voice and by cinematographic implication, omniscience, imposing the DA’s values of what it thinks a “Good Black” should do), to their Mandela posters, they are attempting to keep the scales on the eyes of voters like you.
Both parties are at the end of their neoliberal tether wherever they govern or oppose. Both parties have failed to deliver sustainable solutions for communities that are unsafe, undignified and neglected. Both parties have failed to deliver coalitions that are pro-poor focussed – where coalitions exist or have existed, they only do so for the sake of consolidating or seizing political power and individual positions. It is all well and good to speculate on how coalitions may or may not happen after this election, but what is more important is to talk about WHAT any coalition would do to benefit communities, not just the politicians from both parties who have time and again benefitted from the occupation of office merely for the sake of such occupation.
I ask you to join us and send a political message of truth to power here in the gnashing teeth of the neoliberal storm in DA controlled Western Cape – that the people want radical economic change. The system here is long overdue the shock and rejuvenation that EFF councillors will provide in Wards, Councils and Municipalities after this local government election.
I ask you to Vote EFF so that together we may begin to bring about Radical Change and Economic Freedom in Our Lifetimes.