Socialist party needed: iLIVE
As a former regional politician from the UK who specialised in education, I have followed the politics of South Africa with interest for the years I have been here (without a vote).
What I find frustrating in such a poverty-ridden country is that there is not a socialist party to represent the poor.
Trade union federation Cosatu is the obvious group to spearhead such a party, but with Zwelinzima Vavi at the head, it is in an "unholy" alliance with the ANC. Why an "unholy" alliance? Vavi frequently puts his finger on a point correctly, but has to find a compromised way forward with the ANC. This leads to a frustrated workforce that feels its interests are being compromised.
Ceduma Nocubhe asks in his letter "Vavi is correct about Cosatu" (August 30): "Is Vavi ready to lead the new breed of revolutionaries who will steer South Africa to economic freedom?"
That is like asking: "Will he set up a new political party?"
True socialism has hardly shown a successful economic face internationally, but now capitalism is beginning to show its ugly face, too.
Socialism is the obvious development needed for a realistic and viable alternative government, given the dissatisfaction and protests across South Africa.
This is not a criticism of the DA, but with the history of South Africa and the continuing divisions, a socialist party is probably the only type that could attract a large number of disgruntled (mainly black) urban voters.
Rural voters, as in my home country, tend to be traditional thinkers and voters, and I doubt that would change a great deal here.
But the urban vote is likely to be more volatile.
It would also develop a better democratic system if the government were truly threatened by a realistic opposition, even if a coalition was needed.
Of course decent education is a key factor needed for a break from traditional collective thinking and seeing opposition as "public enemy No 1" to more personally accountable decision-making.
Has South Africa got the time to wait for that to happen? Would the likelihood of the Marikana disaster have been reduced if the miners had the hope of a socialist party representing their interests?
An analogy I make from the UK is Winston Churchill leading an alliance of parties in World War 2. They subsumed their individual ideologies to win a war led by Churchill, just as an alliance of interests in South Africa had one purpose during apartheid - to break the system.
In both cases a conflict situation of national importance united the efforts for a single outcome.
But in peacetime, the individual ideologies emerge, so it becomes an "unholy" alliance.
"Collective" politics is untenable in a peacetime democracy.