The reason that I insinuate that many people have no idea whether they are registered or not is because of the below:
Basically, less than half the population is currently registered to vote. Guess what? That’s not only the uneducated, rural-dwelling South Africans. We are talking about a massive portion of the country who aren’t even registered to vote, never mind those who actually voted.
My suggestion is to find out and then subsequent to your registration or lack thereof, got off your apathetic backside and register to vote on the 8th and 9th of November this year from 8am to 5pm on each day. Get on it. In our democracy, one of proportional representation, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.
And just for interest sake, here’s a map of voter registration:
The parties each list their candidates according to that party’s determination of priorities. In a closed list, voters vote for a list, not a candidate. Each party is allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes, using the ranking order on its list. In an open list, voters may vote, depending on the model, for one person, or for two, or indicate their order of preference within the list.
SA operates on a closed list system which means we vote for a single candidate, not two, three or so on as stated above.
Let’s get more specific about proportional representation. Basically it is what it states it is. Representation within government according to the proportion of votes that a party receives. In SA it is of utmost importance that the volume of votes remains high. Why? Because of the 65% policy that we have.
In the last elections the ANC won over 65% of the votes that were cast. This means that the party and by proxy the president of the nation would be able to alter the constitution as they see fit. This is not a good thing and is looked upon by some as a failing of the PR system as one party has complete dominance. But this is not really the case.
Thanks to the PR system there are seats in parliament allocated to other parties that have won votes. Parties such as the DA, IFP, SACP and others are all represented in government. Even if a party wins a single seat in parliament, in SA’s PR system that means that the particular faction of people who voted for that party are actually represented in government.
On other, more simple terms, this means that if you actually have the energy and take the time to vote you will, certifiably, be represented in parliament if your party wins enough votes to ensure they are allocated a seat in parliament.
To put this in to context we can use the American system called First Past the Post (FTPT) voting. In a nutshell this means that there are (basically) two parties that are in the running for the presidency and government, the Republicans and the Democrats. in the US you can vote for one of the two parties. That’s it.
Couple the lack of options with the lack of voters and you have a massive unrepresented faction of the US people in government. If you are one of 15% of people in the US who vote Republican, 17% vote Democrat and the rest either didn’t vote or voted “undecided” then you are pot out of luck. Why? Because the Democrats with their 17% have won the election. All of it. Parliament, cabinet, ministers and the rest are all Democrats. The other 83% of the population are not represented at all, irrespective of their vote.
Whereas in SA, if you vote there is a very strong chance that no matter who actually wins the election your interests will be represented in government or parliament.
I’m no fool (although some may argue that point). I know that it’s not ideal what we are going through politically in SA right now. When I heard that Trevor Manual had resigned I was in a foul mood and reacted badly to it. But then he amended his resignation stating that if asked, he would willingly work under the new president of the country. That’s better.
But there is a flip side to the negative political wave sweeping the country. It’s not positive, it’s just a different way to look at things.
I regard myself as quite the political conspiracy theorist. I love them and thrive on them and believe that what we see through the eyes of the media is one hundredth of the real truth and real happenings in politics. There is more to this than meets they eye.
Mbeki’s resignation was relatively necessary
What if Zuma was right? What if Mbeki had been gunning for him with a conspiratorial fervor never before seen in SA? If that is the case and the ruling that Zuma could not be prosecuted is accurate (which we should assume to be so) then why would we want Mbeki the conspirator as our president? Surely his resignation is proof that our democracy is in working order. That when a constitutional judge makes a decision it is the word according to our democracy and the decision is then carried forward throughout the system. It’s working, believe it or not, our democracy is working.
The 14 resignations
No it isn’t ideal that 11 Cabinet Ministers and 3 Deputies have resigned but let’s look at it from a different perspective.
If a company is going bankrupt and they hire a new CEO to pull it out of the muck, would it not make sense for some of the staff to leave with their allegedly conspiratorial and failing boss who sunk the company in to financial disaster? I think it makes sense to an extent. In the same way, if a president is seen to be doing wrong then surely by association the people that he hand-picked to be in government with him are involved in the political mess that is abound? One man cannot act alone in politics, if he is implicated then so too is his staff and be inference their staff and so and so on. So with that said, why would we want these ministers in power if there is a chance of them being fraudulent, conspiratorial, questionable or criminal? We all quickly forgot the lovely health minister and Mbeki’s relentless defence of her in the recent past.
Furthermore, many of the ministers have stated that if the new president would like them to continue in their positions they will stay. Fair I think. Then if in fact, the ruling party takes it upon themselves to request the service of the current ministers it is their choice and their doing, the doings of the ousted previous president.
Then on to the workings of our cabinet. Let us not assume for a second that the figureheads of the cabinet are the ones keeping this ship afloat. Below the ministers and their deputies there are Director Generals who are hard at work every day keeping the cogs moving and the wheels turning. They need their salaries and they need their jobs. They know the policies and the workings of their respective departments. Whether their boss leaves or not will more than likely not infringe on the workings of the country. Yes some policies might change but that is to be expected with a change of leadership to varying extents. At the end of the day it is the people on the ground who are working for the country, the big earners and big spenders who are being fired, resigning and departing.
Policy is in the eye of the beholder
Who says that they way that Trevor Manual has been doing managing South Africa’s finances is the only way that it can be done? Mbeki focused on international relations and the way that SA is perceived by the world. However what of crime, poverty, job creation and HIV/Aids as priorities? Maybe with a change in leadership we will find a shift towards the prioritisation of areas previous neglected by the government? This is not to say that the Mbeki regime did badly but no government can ever be brilliant at every aspect of their country. Some governments prioritise health and education while others will prioritise taxes and crime, this is just the nature of the beast.
It is possibly time for our government to shift towards things that have been neglected in the past such as crime. Who are we to decide what should be done and what shouldn’t without actually experiencing something else. All we know in terms of policy, government and leadership since the iconic regime of Mandela is Mbeki, his ministers and his policies. Maybe a change will do us good?
With all the hype surrounding Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, Jacob Zuma’s corruption verdict and the ANC in general much has been said about Kgalema Motlanthe. He is touted to be and more than likely will become the next (however temporary) president of South Africa. But who is Motlanthe? What does he stand for and what can we expect from the man?
Here are some pieces of information about Kgalema Motlanthe that I have gathered from various online resources and media profiles.
His history, story and positions he has occupied:
A brief biography
Political Activist & ANC Secretary – General
Kgalema Motlanthe was born in 1949. At school he was influenced by the ideologies of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and Steve Biko.
In 1976 he was detained for 11 months for furthering the aims of the African National Congress. He was again arrested in 1977 and sentenced to 10 years in Robben Island. He was released in 1987 and that year was elected Secretary-General of the National
Union of Mineworkers (NUM). With the resignation of Cyril
Ramaphosa, Motlanthe was elected Secretary-General of the African National Congress. A position he still holds. – source
Member of Parliament ANC 2008 Secretary-General National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) 1992 Education Officer National Union Of Mineworkers 1987 Trade Unionist COSATU
In 1967 he was detained for 11 months.
In 1977 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in Robben Island prison.
Motlanthe is a shareholder of Pamodzi Investment Holdings. In February 2006, auditors revealed that a total of about R2 billion in loans by the Land Bank, a government institution established to help farmers, had gone sour. Earlier, a R800 million (about $112 million) 10 year loan had been given to Pamodzi. This amounted to nearly one-third of the Land Bank’s total assets, and was a non-agricultural investment. There is no suggestion that this particular loan was non-performing. Pamodzi chief executive Ndaba Ntsele denies there was any wrongdoing.. The government has since fired the Land Bank chairman and agreed to inject R700 million to keep the Land Bank operative. – source
Motlanthe was the one ANC leader able to calm the crowd at the party’s Polokwane conference in December where Mbeki lost the fight to serve a third term as party president to Zuma.
The party will appoint Lindiwe Sisulu, currently the housing minister, as deputy president in place of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, an Mbeki loyalist who has stepped down.
This seems like the best move the party can make as Motlanthe, an outspoken critic of party radicals such as youth leader Julius Malema, will project an image of continuity and stability. – source
I think not. In fact I think the opposite. This is the beginning of uncertain and exciting times for South African politics.
Firstly, Zuma is probably not going to be in the presidents seat just yet which is a great thing. The party is sort of keeping its head and has said that it is not mature enough yet with Zuma at the helm to lead a country. This means that we’ll have an interim president.
The likely candidate for the interim president is the deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka according to the constitution of SA. However there are still a few options that need to be heard. We’ll know the outcome of this at noon today.
All things aside is this really such a bad thing? I don’t think so. It gives us time to breath, to come to terms with what is happening and gives the public time to grasp the politics that are taking place.
It would be slightly concerning if we were pushed in to an early election this year. That I do believe, but I don’t think that will happen. Firstly because the IEC is more than likely not prepared for that and secondly because I don’t foresee a hung parliament regarding the election of a temporary president.
On the back of all of this I am very surprised that the oppositions in SA have not come out more vocally regarding Mbeki’s resignation. Why is Zille so quiet? Where is De Lille and her aggressive politics and what of Holomisa? These people have all been relatively tame instead of the outspoken usual.
The last and most interesting thing that could come out of all of this is a break-away party that will form from Mbeki-ANC supporters. This could make for interesting times as an offshoot party has been in the offing for a while. Now however, there are open talks about the potential for another party to rival the ANC. In my opinion, this is a good thing and shows that our democracy works and is working hard to maintain its democratic outlook.
PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki’s involvement would be the “kiss of death” to any attempts to form a strong alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the aftermath of his recall by his party.
Mbeki would also face condemnation by the international community for seeking to hold onto power should he form or lead such an initiative, an opposition leader warned.
Opposition political leaders and analysts said that while an alternative to the ANC would be good for democracy in the long run, it was unlikely that it could get off the ground before the next general election. – source
THE most exciting unintended consequence of the train of events that led to the firing of President Thabo Mbeki by his beloved African National Congress is the possibility of a new opposition party springing up from within the ruling party.
Murmurings of such a party have been heard before.
But until a momentous event such as the sacking of Mbeki by the Jacob Zuma- led ANC leadership, such a possibility was remote indeed.
But now it is being openly talked about , with defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his deputy, Mluleki George, linked to such a move.
The emergence of a strong opposition party would be great news for South Africa.
After all, the abuses that Mbeki is allegedly being kicked out for are largely because the ANC acted with impunity on so many issues because its leaders knew the party was unlikely to lose an election. – source
From where I sit it is difficult to decide who is telling the truth. But guess what? This is politics. This is democracy and this is happening everywhere. Just yesterday the Israeli Prime Minister resigned due to charges of fraud and other criminal charges. Things like this happen. I am personally glad to see Mbeki go. I like to hear from a president on a regular basis. I don’t want a president who takes his resignation address to announce his CV to the nation and then bugger off.
I want a human being, I want a person who stands for me, for the people and not for a political party and conspiracy. I think that this moment in South Africa’s present history could be a defining moment in our future.
The one thing that stuck with me which emerged from Mbeki’s mouth was this:
“Gloom and despondancy have never defeated adversity”