Politics Notebook | 29 May. The Day of the Second Coming. Are...


Politics Notebook | 29 May. The Day of the Second Coming. Are your affairs in order?

MAX DU PREEZ writes about the real issues of the election, about Commander Flip-Flop and Enoch's R150 billion.


THE ANC will rule until Jesus' second coming, said former president Jacob Zuma in 2009.

Now, 15 years later, he probably wants to eat his words because he is no longer in the ANC and declares that his MK Party (MKP) will beat the ANC on May 29.

Or maybe he will twist it around and say MKP is the True, Purified, Restored ANC and his prediction stands.

There are 96 days left before election day. What will sway voters to make their mark for a different party than in the past?

John Steenhuisen and Co declared this week with great fanfare that May 29 will be a referendum on cadre deployment. This comes after the ANC was compelled by the court to hand over embarrassing minutes of its  deployment committee to the DA.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

I have news for you, guys. No one who has voted for the ANC until now will suddenly shift their vote to an opposition party after we have obtained evidence of what everyone has long known and what was confirmed by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

If you were a previous supporter of the ANC, it was because you broadly believed in the culture of cadre deployment and patronage in the ANC.

Listen carefully to how receptive ordinary black South Africans are to the ANC's counterargument — that the DA also does it.

The appointment of people who support the ruling party's broad vision in positions of authority is a global phenomenon. No ruling party will appoint someone who could potentially undermine or oppose it.

This is also true of the DA where it governs, and of every Western democracy. (In the US, it even applies to judges, all the way up to the highest court.)

The question is whether the appointments are made solely to serve the ruling party's cause and whether the appointed person is the right fit for the position.

From the minutes of the ANC's deployment committee now released, it is clear that the emphasis was on benefiting the ANC itself. As we know today, this led to disastrous appointments at local, provincial and national levels, and at state-owned enterprises.

Positions were handed out to loyal cadres, often regardless of their suitability or competence.

I don't get the impression that the DA has been guilty of this.

A clear example of the ANC's l'état c'est moi attitude comes from the minutes of June 2020, which state: “The president started by apologising for the appointment of the SOE Council without the involvement of the deployment committee, explained that it was an omission due to the pressure."

The election is also not about who can make the wildest promises — for example, the nine million new jobs promised by the EFF or the 18 private hospitals that Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi promises to buy. People know it's nonsense.

Voters are also not going to read and analyse the election manifestos of the different parties  then make a decision. Hell, I'm not even inclined to do it, and it's literally my job.

Voters also don't care much about foreign policies and initiatives.

A seasoned risk analyst writes to his clients this week: “This election will be about the provenance of fighting for the human dignity of black people and that provenance is the almost exclusive domain of the ANC."

This is exactly the reasoning that the ANC uses in its election campaign.

The analyst says he can't see how the ANC will lose 1.3 million votes to fall below 50% on May 29.

I don't completely agree. There are a hell of a lot of black voters, especially young people and urbanites, who are so fed up that they no longer want to remember Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela.

They're saying  the ANC did not fight hard enough for black dignity; just look at the poverty, unemployment, squatter camps, crime and poor state hospitals.

Most of these voters simply don't believe the DA when it says it will significantly improve the lives of most black South Africans.

The ANC fuels this perception by increasingly falsely claiming that black people in the Western Cape and Cape Town are worse off than those in other provinces.

John Steenhuisen's uninspiring, tone-deaf leadership, the DA's deafening silence on the genocide in Gaza and the defection of most black DA leaders to other opposition parties reinforce the perception that black South Africans are not the DA's priority.

The DA's proven record of good governance becomes worthless in the process.

On paper, Songezo Zibi's Rise Mzansi is the most intelligent and thoughtful opposition party. It is under extremely capable black leadership, understands the dynamics of national politics better than any other party and has credible proposals for what a New, New South Africa should look like.

But Rise Mzansi is a new party, and moreover, a moderate party in an era of populism and wild rhetoric. It will be lucky to get 5% support.

Ethnicity will play a role in the election. Only Zulu speakers will vote for MKP, only coloured people for the Patriotic Alliance, mostly only white Afrikaners for the Freedom Front Plus. Only a handful of whites will vote for the ANC, maybe only three or four for the EFF, and the DA's support will overwhelmingly come from minority groups.

Ultimately, Election 2024 will not be different from other elections: voters will rally behind the party they can feel comfortable and associate with, the party they believe will benefit their lives and those of their children the most.


Twitter/X is mostly like a neglected public toilet but it remains an effective way to expose political charlatans.

After 15 years of lurking and a Stalingrad strategy, John Hlophe was finally kicked out as a judge, forfeiting his generous salary for the rest of his life.

As with the ousted public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, it took hopelessly too long, but we must be grateful that such steps still happen and are supported by a majority in parliament. Only the EFF, ATM and Al Jama-ah (or as a friend calls it: Al Jama-hahaha) voted against the decision.

And then Julius Malema came with his sanctimonious black solidarity nonsense:

To which people on Twitter/X quickly pointed out that he, being Julius, himself called Hlophe a “rotten potato" who should be kicked out:

Share the blame

Opposition parties have been warning for months that the ANC government dares not use the budget for political gain in an election year.

And there they go, attacking the budget just to get to the ANC, rather than on merit.

At issue is the R150 billion from the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) announced by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, which will be used to alleviate South Africa's massive debt burden.

This fund is held by the Reserve Bank for the National Treasury and stands at over R500 billion.

It is costing the state R382 billion this year to repay its debt — 21 cents out of every rand it spends.

If you have a fixed investment but you are so squeezed with repayments on your credit card that you can't pay your rent or put petrol in your car, is it reckless and foolish to withdraw an amount from your fixed investment?

It is something that many other countries with successful economies also do, but when Godongwana does it, it is “irresponsible election politics"?

All we really need to be concerned about is whether the withdrawal of the R150 billion will make the state less cautious with state funds. And this withdrawal from GFECRA is something that should happen regularly.

♦ VWB ♦

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