Opinion

Would DA rather spar with Julius than work with Cyril?

10 March 2019 - 00:06

In politics, everything is compromise. A deal. And it is slow. Watching President Cyril Ramaphosa try to right the country without exploding his party is an agony. As is watching the mob on my Twitter feed go crazy when he says he is going to implement the ANC December 2017 resolution to nationalise the Reserve Bank.
You would think the world was about to end. But here's the story, folks: this guy and the group of people around him are the thin red line against our destruction as a country by a deeply criminal element inside his own party.
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"Nationalising" the Reserve Bank is a mere technicality. Window-dressing. Ramaphosa doesn't think it necessary and neither does the DA. The Bank is, to every extent imaginable, 100% subject to the same controls as any independent and reputable central bank in the world.
So Ramaphosa has to go along with the left wing of his party and nationalise it. So what? It will still be independent of political interference, to the extent that it already is. It will still target inflation. But rather let's have hysterics at the mere mention of nationalisation. Ramaphosa should take on his own party instead.
It will go on like this for years. Stop and start. He isn't playing a "long game". There is no long game. The game is surviving the madness he inherited. He has to deal with the two destructive conference resolutions, on land expropriation and Reserve Bank nationalisation, as deftly as possible, doing as little damage as possible, and report back to the next conference that he has done what it instructed him to do.
It's fine to whine and complain about the facts of life but it's no good wishing Mmusi Maimane was president because he will never be. Live in the real world - it's getting really interesting.
The latest in a series of polls by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) is electrifying. The May 8 election is going to be very close.
This is good and credible research. Assuming that 100% of voters cast a vote, it predicts that the ANC would, in a national election, win 54.7% (it won 62.1% in 2014) of the vote, the DA 21.8% (22.2%) and the EFF 12.2% (6.3%).
These numbers represent slight variations from earlier IRR predictions in December and September 2018. But if, as the authors of the poll advise, you look at what the result would be from a more likely turnout of, say, 71%, it changes. The ANC takes 55%, the DA 24% and the EFF 11%. So against 2014, the ANC slides and the DA and EFF gain.
It doesn't all feel right to me but there's no point arguing the toss. We'll all know the real numbers soon enough.
What seems not to be in any doubt is that the ANC will lose its overall majority in Gauteng. No turnout scenario in the IRR poll gives it more than 47%. That's on a turnout of 70.7% of eligible provincial voters. On that basis, the DA gets 37% and the EFF 11%.
That obviously makes EFF leader Julius Malema a kingmaker in the province, just as he became in big metros after the 2016 local polls.
He will be able to boss the ANC in SA's richest province because - and I'm sorry to raise it again - the bloody DA leadership outright refuses to consider any coalition or "arrangement" with the ANC "as it is currently constituted". That is to say, until it splits, which it won't. And it will not consider any coalition or arrangement in which it is not the largest party.
It is hard to credit that level of arrogance but until the DA leadership can publicly say that I am wrong and explain exactly what their attitude is to coalitions with the ANC, I think it is wise not to trust them.
EFF support isn't free and the thing that gets me is that James Selfe, head of the DA's federal executive and arguably the most powerful figure in the DA, boasted to journalist Jan-Jan Joubert, in his 2018 book Who Will Rule in 2019?, that after an election, under no circumstances will the DA give the public any insight into its coalition negotiations.
Malema must be smiling. The DA leadership rate him as a man of his word. The DA's poll numbers suggest it could get together again with the EFF and, with the help of a few small parties, run the province.
Yes, politics is about compromise. But a DA that would rather climb to power on an EFF shoulder than stand, somehow, with Ramaphosa and the crew trying to save the economy?
It would be a disgrace...

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