It’s the day before municipal elections in South Africa, and as always, race seems to be polarizing factor. With the population being more than 75% black, this means the ANC will win in most areas. The Western Cape however, is not most areas.
In Cape Town, there are far fewer black people and a far greater number of coloured voters, alongside the fairly consistent percentage of white people. By virtue of continuous bad service delivery, corruption and the general hijinks of an ANC government, the DA managed to obtain a majority in the city via a multiparty coalition in the previous municipal elections. Since then, much progress has been made in locally provided public services, and the DA look to stand at least a chance of attaining the bulk of the vote without need for a coalition.
In my opinion the improvements observed under DA leadership is a valid reason to vote DA. Augmenting the decision to vote for the DA is the fact that all healthy democracies have a strong opposition party. The DA is the only South-African party that comes even close to qualifying as a “strong opposition party”. I take far greater issue with individuals – particularly the young ones – who choose to vote for fringe parties, such as the FF+ and ACDP, than those who vote for the ANC. Sure, I did just mention that I associate abominable service delivery, corruption and general hijinks with an ANC government, but at least some sense of loyalty can be associated with ANC voters, and while their leaders might be making decision I deem to be bad, at least they hold a position from which to make these bad decisions.
Fringe parties that struggle to gain more than a percentage or two of the vote in effect, hold no power whatsoever. The leaders of these parties do not have the ability to represent their voters optimally, since they don’t count when it’s the big guys in the ring. While I can still agree to disagree with members of older generations of South-Africans who choose to vote FF+, I do so only on the grounds that they grew up with apartheid propaganda, and I can hardly expect them to understand the model of a perfect democracy (See: Various western countries) if they were indoctrinated to think that apartheid was a democracy. (Strange to think they might agree to disagree with me on the basis that I’m the one being indoctrinated…) Younger voters of my generation have no such excuse to vote for a party that does not have the ability to represent their voters. To me it seems that the only effect of voting for fringe parties, is the hacking away of percentage points from the DA. Thereby making South-Africa a weaker democracy.
In Stellenbosch we have even seen the rise of the Studente Stem Party (SSP). It is made up by a group of students aiming to solve issues which the young people living in Stellenbosch face. They hope to solve a few very real concerns by winning a few council seats. Their mission is as follows:
1. To provide students with adequate representation in municipal affairs
2. Om te veg vir n veiliger kampus
3. To ensure that the parking problem on campus is resolved
4. Deel te wees van die proses wat besluit hoe laat kuierplekke in Stellenbosch toe maak
5. Fight against increasing electricity costs for students
6. Beter verhouding te ontwikkel tussen studente en die groter gemeenskap
7. Prevent the creation of accomodation zones where students are not allowed to live in
8. Om samewerking tussen die universiteit en munisipaliteit te bevorder
(The list if the mission statement of the SSP; from:
While the founding of the SSP is a welcome respite from the general apathy towards politics by SU students, it’s my opinion that this is not the best possible move. While it is true that despite students making up a significant percentage of Stellenbosch’s inhabitants, they are rarely given the time of day by those who govern Stellenbosch; should the SSP garner any votes at all – it will most likely be from a student body that would otherwise have voted DA. Again I can never find any situation which takes votes away from the DA to be a positive one. While I concede that while I’m writing a blog – which few people is likely to read - about the situation in Stellenbosch, the leadership of the SSP is being proactive about solving problems they identify, yet I have to ask the question: Couldn’t more be done by engaging in conversation about these issues with DA council members, as opposed to creating a party that could only be effective if it caused an exodus of votes for the DA?
This blog is based solely on my young and surely flawed thought process and opinion, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Please note that I have no knowledge of conversation or lack thereof between the DA and the SSP.
Please feel free to comment, any criticism or praise would be appreciated.