What the matter with us is

12 December 2012 - 15:00 By Bruce Gorton
Image: Daily Dispatch

Our trouble as a country is that between the elections we are fighting the next election.

If you look at the DA and the ANC, the parties are actually quite complimentary.

Each party is strong where the other is weak.

The DA is the professional class party. This is a strength when it comes to the business of administering things – the City of Cape Town is an award winning city, and for the most part the Western Cape is fairly well run.

The trouble is, as the professional class party the DA doesn’t really consider things from the point of view of those who aren’t of the professional class.

Thus for example you have highly unpopular moves like shutting down schools, and also an economic plan that doesn’t take into account how hard life is if you are poor.

Everything gets more expensive with poverty – due to the legacy of apartheid you can’t live as close to work, you end up paying more in bank charges, you end up prey to loan sharks just so your kids can eat.

Thus if you end up with less money at the end of the month, it can be a threat to your continued existence.

The DA membership is generally in the black on their balance sheets, and this is reflected in their policies, which don’t really serve the majority of South Africans.

The ANC is the working class party – its policies focus on the interests of the working class with a heavy emphasis on job security, decent pay and protecting the interests of workers in general.

This is the basis of their alliance with Cosatu, even as that alliance becomes increasingly fractured.

Their central bank policy is designed to maintain pensions, their triumphs include things like the National Credit Act, and one of the big initiatives they are pushing for right now is essentially universal health care.

Yet they fail at basic administration.

This is a problem exacerbated by the emphasis on loyalty, which tends to go towards covering up corruption and incompetence rather than putting an end to it. Loyalty is the governing trait of the ANC however, and to be disloyal its ultimate sin, so crisis do not get headed off at the pass as someone points out at the time how it could all go wrong.

Instead people bide their time nervously fidgeting until it has all gone wrong, because they don’t want to be seen as trouble makers, they don’t want to be disloyal.

If the two parties could work together, we as a country would be a lot better off. If they could view it that their first loyalty, whichever side they were, was to the people before the party, if they could cooperate we would have a much better country.

Instead we have the ANC going out of its way to demonise the DA, and the DA doing little but picking nits out of ANC policy, both putting on a show for the next elections while there is real work to be done.