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I’ve finally decided which party I’m going to vote for in the coming election,” the lovely Snapdragon told me this week. “I’m supporting Herman Mashaba.”
I don’t think I have ever voted for the same party as Snapdragon, but I find Mashaba to be a fascinating option. I love the fairy tale of a poor boy struggling against poverty and apartheid.
A man who beat the odds to become a successful millionaire businessman and the mayor of the most economically advanced city in Africa.
Like me, Mashaba is a libertarian who values individual freedom. I can’t fault his party’s aims: He wants to fix municipalities with ethical and professional public service, efficient administration and a business-friendly environment.
I will consider his party on 1 November, but I haven’t yet selected my party of choice. I know I won’t vote for one of the big parties. I’m tired of corruption and I’m not convinced one is necessarily better than the other.
We are a corrupt bunch, after all. Will I be corruption-free if I ever land up in a position with as much power as we give our politicians? I prefer not to ask myself that question… I may not like the answer.
But I do believe that in this election our best options to transform our world lie with the smaller parties. Even independent candidates. They are from our communities, we can hold them accountable for what is happening in our suburbs and our towns.
When big party politicians in local government go to sleep at night, they dream about going to parliament in two years’ time.
Not independents and candidates from the smaller parties – they dream about better service delivery, a community with less crime, roads without potholes and cleaner parks and empty spaces.
Or am I just naive? I know very little will change after election day. For the next two weeks we will hear promises and see potholes being repaired.
And, no matter who wins and who loses, after election day we will again complain.
But can we just blame the politicians? We have to stay involved. We have to hold our local governments accountable.
Because government – local or not – is far too serious to be left to politicians.