Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SA Local Elections

South Africans never cease to amaze me. It seems a culture of complaining has swept over the country and that citizens revel in that swamp of negativity. When asked about whether the same people are going to vote in the local elections on the 18 May 2011, one gets met with a flurry of excuses or comments amounting to total resignation.

There seems to be an acute disconnect between what people complain about and what they feel they can do, realistically. The very concept of a democracy - that every vote counts and that citizens should make their voices heard appears to be lost. Many of the rich are quite content with the status quo - possibly because the status quo has enabled their wealth creation abilities. The poor on the other hand are quite content to live on the promises made by politicians. Yes, you too can have open toilets in your township if you vote for us.

The bizarre disconnect also exists between service delivery and past promises. There appear to be no metrics that hold politicians to account. Bar a few mildly scarring newspaper reports and tickling cartoons about open toilets, nobody really seems to care. Worse yet, they have lost the faith that their voice can make any sort of difference in the country. Politicians constantly reinforce use of the race card in South Africa, polarising society even further and taking it away from what was intended to be Mandela's legacy of a truly non-racial South Africa.

I don't really have an issue with who people vote for - what I do take to heart is the current level of voter apathy. Come on South Africa - do not not wait for things to get really drastic and unbearable before you act. This is what happened in many of the countries in North Africa - and the likes of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are not exactly the happiest places on the planet right now - wait too late and things get really messy, and violent. Vote today and make your voice count South Africans.