If you feel like getting annoyed or depressed or gathering political ammunition, you could put together a list of South African scandals, farces, mess-ups and tragedies. You could include Marikana (“Violent miners”. “Trigger-happy police”), Prasa (” Tall locomotives”, “Threats of murder”), Eskom (“Failure to build”, “Failure to maintain”), Cosas “Defending looting”, SAA “Forever failing”, Nkandla (“Too much”,”Nobody told me”, “No value there”), and Heaven knows how many others. The choice is unbelievable. The violence, the loss of lives, the sheer criminality and xenophobia is hair-raising, although not the worst in the world. The amount of money lost, wasted or stolen, that should have been carefully and effectively spent, is criminal, but also not the worst in the world. However, do you really want to draw up such a list of depressing and maddening things? Or do you want to do something about fixing things.
The people of South Africa spent decades to change the political and economic nature of the country. The people gained the right to universal adult suffrage in a democratic state. The people choose the Parliamentary parties and the individual Councillors at National, Provincial and Local government levels. The people are responsible for the quality of governance that prevails in this country. The problem is that too many of the people have stopped voting, have abandoned their right to vote, and are allowing a minority to re-elect the same politicians and the same officials, year-in and year-out, regardless of the farces, the failures, the waste and the maladministration.
In October 2016, the people of South Africa will have yet another chance to elect local government representatives, throughout the country. Local governance deals with everyone’s daily living conditions, and everyone knows who the local candidates are. Those elections will permit people to choose individuals on their own merit, not faceless party lists. The power to shift the nature of those in office, to influence the direction and morality of governance, will probably be at it’s all-time peak in October 2016.
No matter who is messing up at the moment, ordinary South Africans can fix things through the choices they make in that election.There will be about thirty-two million people eligible to register to vote at that time. Thirty-two million votes can move plenty. There is no reason to allow twelve million votes to herd the whole country. It’s all ours to fix.