LETTER: No more ‘Big Man’ politics

Well-known author and resident is hopeful that South Africa can move forward whether the government forms a unity or coalition.

• Thabile Mange writes:

While the ANC has played a leading and pivotal role in liberating our beautiful country, it has also contributed to the degeneration of our economy and morality. Not only that, but it has also made corruption fashionable and behaved as if it had a natural right to power.

It has taken 30 years for South African voters to neutralise the ANC or show it that power lies with the voters. It’s a long time. Many things have gone wrong during the 30-year-long period under the governing party, and it will take a lot of effort to correct them. But it’s better late than never.

The May 29 general elections have brought a stop to the big man politics or the African brand of politics, where one political party or leader stays in power for a long time. These elections have also ushered in a new brand of politics, if not a new era of politics. Hopefully, the political language will also change.

Many new political parties have entered the political scene and participated in elections. Thanks to our multi-party democracy. Most of the leaders of these political organisations are young and have no baggage. Maybe this is what South Africa needs right now.

When the ANC was told that the era of coalition politics had arrived, it sprung into denial. Instead, it said it was aiming for a majority vote. The elections have proven to Cyril Ramaphosa’s party that we are now in a period of coalition politics – and clearly, the above-mentioned party was not ready for it.

For the very first time since our democracy, the ANC has failed to secure a 50 plus one percent vote in the recent elections. Now it will have to share power with other political parties, something it is not used to.

Former liberation movements in Africa dominated politics for 20 years or so. After that, they decline or lose power. The pertinent question is: Is this the beginning of the end of the ANC, as we know it? Will it recover and make a comeback? Only time will tell.

The governing party has proposed a Government of National Unity (GNU) as a form of government. If GNU is accepted (EFF has rejected it, outrightly), power will be shared amongst political parties. Small parties may also have a bite in power. I hope this will improve service delivery.

It’s a good thing that the new kid on the block, MK Party, has deposed the EFF from the third most powerful political party position in the country. I just don’t like the EFF’s arrogant and abrasive style of politics. We need constructive and engaging politics.

Lastly, elections, which have brought about political change, have come, and gone. We now need to chart a way forward as a nation. Whether the government forms a GNU or coalition, the government desperately needs to resuscitate the economy and create jobs. It also needs to jerk up the nation’s morality and conscience. Now is the time.

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