The Election Crisis (I): Towards the Brink?

The general election due in about nine months’ time is going to be a very interesting one, though not for the reasons cited by the stinking, syphilitic political whores who term themselves political experts and political journalists. The ANC is going to win the election with a massive majority, and will win eight out of nine provinces. (Its only opponent, the DA, has – for reasons of internal politics – deliberately decided not to attempt to win the only province outside the Western Cape which it has any hope of succeeding in.)

So what’s interesting about it?

The big question revolves around the anticipated decline in ANC support. This decline arises from two primary sources: the collapse in electorate trust as regards central government, and the collapse in electorate respect as regards provincial and metropolitan government. Both sources derive from the transformation of the ANC from a traditional political party, as it was before 2007, into a transmission belt for the desires of the ruling class, as it is now (and as virtually all political parties in the world now see themselves).

The problem is that because South Africa is in a very serious socio-economic crisis, the general public actually need help which they are not getting. In 2007 and again in 2009, Zuma and his allies promised to provide that help. This was a small part of the reason why Zuma took power at Polokwane and a large part of the reason why the ANC’s support declined by relatively little in the 2009 elections, despite the obvious corruption which pervaded the entire party and political system by that time. The fact that this help has never been provided, despite incessant false promises made by virtually the whole Cabinet, means that nobody now has any reason to be fooled when further false promises are trundled out. There is no longer an excuse for hope.

Logically, this should mean that the ANC’s support should plummet, but this is not so, because of the absence of alternatives. Most ANC supporters believe that alternatives to the ANC are worse. In this belief, they are absolutely correct – indeed, the more that you learn about other political parties of all ostensible persuasions in South Africa, the more odious and intolerable they appear. No doubt some people will, in despair, turn to the DA, but they will be few. It is possible that a few more might turn to the United Democratic Movement or the Congress of the People, but they are unlikely to be much more numerous, especially since both parties are tainted by having hawked themselves and their representatives to the DA, and are thus recognizably no longer truly independent parties.

One of the major reasons for the decline in the ANC’s support, however, is the collapse of provincial parties. Disregarding the ANC’s faked membership figures, one must acknowledge that the provincial parties are in terrible actual disarray despite the stranglehold which the leaders have on their toadies. In Limpopo, Luthuli House has been working to wreck the support base of the provincial leadership, and has succeeded at the cost of wrecking the support base of the party. In the Free State, North-West and Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, Luthuli House has happily helped corrupt provincial leaders to ride roughshod over their memberships and electorates, repeatedly annulling legitimate conferences or manipulating bogus conferences in order to ensure that Zuma allies hold on to power against the wishes of the general public – and sometimes even of the ANC membership itself. Even at the level of towns like Port Elizabeth or Potchefstroom, municipal governments have been installed or dismissed completely against the wishes and interests of their electorates. It is hard to believe that this will have no impact on the voting practices of those people. As for Zuma’s strongholds, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, they appear to becoming increasingly unstable places, with violence against politicians and political property on the increase. There isn’t much money left with which to bribe the more junior cronies. It’s entirely possible that in these provinces, there will be a degree of apathy – as is also likely in Gauteng. Thus, the provincial situation seems strongly to argue against

So what is to be expected from the election? A large number of people will hold their noses and vote for Zuma, even though they know that nothing good will come of it, simply because they cannot stomach voting for the Western imperialists or the World Bank and at least some of those with Zuma, if not Zuma himself, are not utterly corrupt tools. (Or so the ANC’s voters hope, anyway.) A small number of people will stop their noses and their ears and vote for parties other than the ANC simply in order to show their discontent with the way things are going. Others, for the same reason, will stay away from voting altogether. Only the ignorant or the brainwashed (ironically, the so-called born-frees, who have never experienced a free press or a robust culture of political debate, are most numerous in this category) will vote with any hope that their vote will make a positive difference.

What does this mean?

There are several possibilities. Perhaps the least likely is that the ANC’s support-base will remain essentially the same. They will lose some support to the DA, they will lose some support to small parties, they will lose support through voter withdrawal. It is no longer possible to substantially increase their support in KwaZulu-Natal and thus conceal the actual decline in their fortunes. There is no sign of any substantial recovery of Western Cape support – it would be impossible to do this under a Zuma administration, given that the need is for trust, which Zuma and his allies cannot engender, and for non-racialism, which is not something of which Zuma is capable.

One possibility, therefore, is a similar decline to the decline of 2009, when the ANC’s support fell from just below 70% to just above 66%. A decline of 4% would potentially push the ANC’s support below the level which it attained in 1994. Such a decline would be modestly empowering to the DA, for it would reconfirm the sense of deterioration in the ANC’s position which has been in place since Zuma’s takeover. It would also be slightly intimidating to the ANC’s leadership, for the same reason – because they have been pretending since 2009 that this was an anomalous event caused by the breakaway of the Congress of the People, and have been fabricating immense expansions of membership in order to generate the illusion that everything is coming up roses for the ANC.

But in both cases, only slightly. If the ANC’s support falls to, say, 62%, they will still be more than twice the size of the DA. ANC members would be well aware that on present conditions they would be likely to win the 2019 elections. Therefore they would have no serious inclination to make any changes within the party – specifically, any changes likely to undermine the Zuma administration’s appalling policies and practices. There might be a little more grumbling – but that would be all, and the authoritarian powers arrogated to the Zuma-controlled National Executive Committee could easily be used to suppress anyone striving to move beyond grumbling.

So that is, in a sense, a worst-case option; more or less as bad as the ANC’s support remaining much as it is now. It is, however, difficult to believe that it would happen. This is because the DA is quite likely to pick up a couple of percentage points of the vote (it would get more, but it is possible that Agang will briefly draw some voters away from the DA, in a pitiful repetition of the Independent Democrats charade). It is very likely that the Congress of the People and the United Democratic Movement will pick up a similar level of votes from people, especially in rural provinces like the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, who can no longer abide Zuma’s nonsense and perceive that Lekota and Holomisa, for all their failings and cooperation with white conservatives, are at least representatives of a pre-Zuma ANC tradition. It is also very likely that a lot of potential ANC supporters will stay home, and if that is as much as 5% of their vote that could translate into a 3% decline in their fortunes. Putting this all together and allowing for the slim possibility that some of the Trotskyites, and perhaps even Malema’s mob, might be able to stand and confuse the electorate, it is quite likely that the ANC’s support could fall well below 60% — say, to 57% or so.

That would represent a massive slap in the face of Zuma and the rest of the ANC, a message basically saying that if you carry on like this, your control of the country is history. It means that people wishing to send such a message might well find it worthwhile to vote for some or other odious parliamentary party. (So long as it was not the DA, for all the Zuma administration appears to aspire to the condition of Zillehood.) It makes the 2014 election less meaningless than elections have been for some time.

The only serious question is how the Zuma ANC would respond to the ensuing crisis.

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One Response to The Election Crisis (I): Towards the Brink?

  1. charles says:

    Welcome back!

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