News / Opinion / Columns

Martin Williams
3 minute read
13 Mar 2019
9:35 am

Ignorance has been votes bliss for the ANC

Martin Williams

The ANC poll suggests the party will retain Gauteng, but a more credible survey by the Institute of Race Relations indicates it will dip under 50%.

If ever South Africa’s education system is fixed, the ANC will be voted out.

That’s a logical conclusion after an internal ANC survey published in the Sunday Times found less-educated voters are more likely to back the party, while the more educated are less likely to do so.

Among those who reached Grade Seven, 75% said they would vote for the ANC. “About 63% of those who attended secondary school said they would vote for the ANC. Only 29% of those with a post-matric qualification said they would.”

You don’t have to be poorly educated to vote ANC, but it helps.

Ignorance has been bliss for the ANC.

Those without decent education should not be mocked. It’s not their fault.

Yet people who lack critical thinking skills, and who are duped into voting for a corrupt, deceitful party have a profound effect on this country’s future.

None of this necessarily means the ANC is deliberately dumbing folks down à la Hendrik Verwoerd, who said education should not be wasted on those destined to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water”.

No, the sorry state of our education is not the result of deliberate strategy. It’s merely another example of the incompetence replicated at Eskom, SAA, SABC, Prasa, Denel, etc.

The ANC have for decades tested the limits of Lincoln’s dictum: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

They have fooled a lot of people for a long time.

Even when the ANC was at a low ebb in the ’70s, when black consciousness was leading the struggle and inspiring student uprisings in Soweto, the ANC pretended to be the “sole and authentic representative” of the people. That mantle has slipped.

And it will slip further, particularly among better educated urbanites in Gauteng, which is set to be the next testing ground for coalition government.

Gauteng is SA’s most populous (14.7 million) province. It is also the richest. Gauteng has a Gini co-efficient of 62, signifying one of the most unequal societies on earth.

Inequality is more than a number. It’s a matter of life and death.

Martin Daly, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McMaster University in Ontario, says inequality predicts homicide rates “better than any other variable”.

Inequality and potential violence make Gauteng a tinderbox at election time.

Although the ANC poll suggests the party will retain Gauteng, a more credible survey by the Institute of Race Relations indicates the ANC will dip under 50%.

So, if the ANC wants to remain in government in Gauteng, it will have to enter a coalition with either the EFF, DA or smaller parties.

Alternatively, the DA and EFF could pull together, excluding the ANC. In fact, any two of these three parties could team up to the exclusion of the other.

An educated choice would seek to limit the influence of those who preach and practise hate, racism and sexism in a volatile environment. This is an historic opportunity to curb extremism.

Will the class of 2019 pass the test?

Martin Williams, DA councillor.

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