Now that local government elections have passed in South Africa, it’s time to take stock and see what the future may hold for us as a nation. We know the ANC kept its majority and the DA made some significant advances which will provide an interesting backdrop to the 2014 provincial and national elections. [twocol_one] I got a chance to watch an interview on Al Jazeera a few days ago with ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu and the mayoral candidate of the DA for the Johannesburg region. What struck me was how outdated the ANC spokesperson sounded and how modern and sophisticated the DA man was. All the ANC spokesperson could bring to the table was the typical racial stereotyping that characterised so much of the ANC’s campaign against the DA whilst the suave, articulate DA mayoral candidate for Johannesburg projected an image of a modern, intelligent, inclusive political organisation which has its eye on the future and is on an upward trajectory. It would appear that the DA has decided to position itself as the party for all South Africans, with an inclusive message that provides a vision and hope for all South Africans whilst the ANC is stuck in the past, expecting people to vote for it based on its illustrious history yet not being willing to change and adapt to the current political environment which calls for nation-building and reconciliation instead of polarisation and divisiveness. Even though the ANC got over 62 percent of the vote from a national perspective, what is significant is the fact that the ANC’s share of the vote has been declining steadily over the past couple of elections and it is becoming quite clear that South Africans are getting tired of the stale message of the ANC and want something fresh and vibrant with the promise of moving us forward as a nation. Whilst stereo-typing the DA as a racist party dedicated to maintaining the status quo, the ANC has itself failed to inspire any confidence that it has anything new to bring to the table that can contribute towards making South Africa a winning nation that has hope for all its people. [/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last] It remains to be seen whether the DA’s new image is just political window-dressing designed to get them the vote of the black electorate but at the moment with their exciting assortment of young, emerging black leaders the DA has stolen a march on the ANC and managed to project itself as the party that is serious about non-racialism, unity and reconciliation, unlike the ANC. Of course the proof of the authenticity of this new image will be proven by the allocation of leadership positions within DA structures and in DA controlled areas going forward but at present one can only conclude that the political climate is changing (be it so slowly) in South Africa and if the ANC does not change its ways and amend its modus operandi we may be closer to seeing the day the ANC loses power in South Africa than we initially thought. It has also become quite obvious after this election that there is only space for two big political players in South Africa and despite the fact that we had over 120 political parties registered for the local government elections, their support was so negligible as to be insignificant and going forward it appears that there will be two dominant parties, mainly the DA and the ANC fighting it out for the vote of the South African electorate on a national level. This can only be good for our democracy as it will be better to have two strong parties competing against each other rather than many small insignificant parties competing against one, big, indomitable player. [box type=”tick”]Whatever the case may be these are exciting times in South African politics and maybe just maybe we are finally maturing ever so slightly towards becoming a democracy where key issues are the deciding factor in who we vote for as opposed to race and liberation-era history and credentials.[/box] [/twocol_one_last]
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