OP-ED: Hoping Hate Will Save Us

OP-ED: SA is desperately hoping that 3 previous ANC leaders cannot work together, because if they can, we are in deep trouble

Hoping hate will save us

The ANC and the breakaway parties spawned by its ex-senior leaders collectively secured 64.3% of the national vote. Together, they can comfortably form a government. Throw in a political minnow or two, and they can change the Constitution to boot. African nationalism remains the order of the day, the pursuit of it is simply becoming more radical.

On Friday, South Africa will elect the seventh President of the democratic era. What the outcome will be remains a mystery, even to those most intimately involved in the process. 

South Africans don’t want the government they voted for

Despite having voted for either the ANC, MK, or the EFF, polling conducted by the Brenthurst Foundation suggests that the majority of South Africans are now desperately hoping that collectively they do not form a government. The irony is overwhelming.

An alliance between the ANC and the DA, a party which many of those voters have stubbornly refused to vote for despite its relatively strong performance in provincial and local government, is now the most wished for outcome.

Only one in ten South Africans are hoping for the so-called ‘Doomsday coalition’. In perhaps the worst possible indictment of South African politics, the rest of us are hoping that the three previous ANC colleagues hate each other so much that despite all hailing from the same political tradition, they cannot bring themselves to work with each other.

DA taking Ramaphosa into protective custody

Ramaphosa meanwhile, can probably count on the support of DA MP’s should his proposed Government of National Unity (GNU) include the DA and IFP, whilst excluding MK and the EFF. It is how his own MP’s will vote in the secret ballot that will be keeping him up at night. Et tu, Brute?

Anyone who thinks this bodes well for South Africa’s future is deluding themselves. I have on many occasions written that the time will come when South Africans will long for the days when an ANC government held an outright majority.

If Ramaphosa limps home and reclaims the Presidency, he will be a dead-man-walking. Nauseatingly, those of us who wish to propose viable long-term solutions will have to then wait out Ramaphoria v2.0 until the Government of National (dis)Unity collapses under the weight of its own unworkability. To all intents and purposes, the DA will have taken Ramaphosa into protective custody.

South Africa cannot work as a unitary state

The reality that South Africa is proving remarkably slow to accept, is that South Africans do not want the same thing. Fundamental ideological and cultural divides exist and they cannot be wished away. South Africa cannot continue to exist as a unitary state. The evidence is overwhelming and the longer it takes for us as a nation to admit this reality, the more painful the learning experience will become.

Every South African province has the right to pass its own constitution. To date, only two have felt that their identity and values are not sufficiently captured within the national constitution and have attempted to exercise this right. The Western Cape was successful and has its own constitution, whilst the ConCourt rejected the KZN constitution and it has never been finalised. 

I have never fallen under the spell of Gayton Mckenzie, but on KZN I am reluctantly inclined to agree with him. KZN has voted for African conservatism and a strong Zulu identity. The wisdom of cheating democracy and conspiring by means of political machinations to install a government to which the majority are likely to be vehemently opposed is questionable. It is not hard to predict what will likely happen next. 

Likewise in the Western Cape. Only 28.0% voted for the ANC, MK, and EFF combined, compared to 69.5% in the rest of the country. We cannot continue to impose national government policies on a province where the majority have rejected them for three straight decades and the entirety of the democratic era. It is no surprise to see the emergence of radical coloured nationalism and, if left unaddressed, it will not end well for anyone.

DA must urgently drive decentralisation

Whether the solution is independence, confederalism, federalism, or devolution, action has to be taken before the violence starts. And if we do nothing, it will start. A recent UN report was unambiguous, at the heart of almost every conflict since 1946 is the denial of the right to self-determination.

It is not rocket science. If a region or group of people are habitually governed in defiance of their collective democratic will, and the consequences are overtly detrimental to their wellbeing, sooner rather than later they will take action. The wealthy flee, those that cannot stand and fight.

If the DA is going to prop up the Ramaphosa regime, then it is absolutely essential that it uses whatever political capital it can muster to decentralise power (self-determination) as a matter of the utmost urgency.

When Ramaphosa falls, things are going to get very ugly, very quickly. For now, it is only hate that is keeping us safe. 

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