When Frederick W Robertson said, "There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy - hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny", he could have been talking about our current crop of politicians.
Julius Malema insisting that Jacob Zuma "pays back the money" is hypocrisy of the first order - how about your R20m in outstanding income tax Mr Malema? Helen Zille’s hand wringing over budget cuts that will mean freezing more operational posts, while saying nothing about the Municipal Demarcation Board creating even more political seats in local councils, is also highly hypocritical. Nothing more needs to be said about the jaw-dropping hypocrisy of the ANC that hasn’t already been said.
In among all the known areas of blatant corruption, our local government electoral system is itself a pernicious fraud of the first order. All proportional councillors in local government, and the parties who appoint them, are defrauding the public of money that should rather be spent on service delivery. The Municipal Structures Act, and the Municipal Demarcation Act remove the need for proportional representation. This is borne out by the 2011 electoral results, where proportional councillors could influence the balance of power in only 14 of the 234 local and metro councils. For the rest, DA and ANC councillors vote as instructed by the party leadership, and the “also-ran” parties are just ignored. Proportional representation is an expensive political irrelevancy, costing in the region of R7.5 billion for the 5 years from 2011, which is likely to increase to around R9 billion for the next 5 year term.
Political party leaders are guilty of tyranny as they hold all the cards when it comes to who gets what job at all three levels of government, with an ultimatum to toe the party (my) line or get kicked out. The EFF have also taken tyranny to a new level with their unsubtle intimidation of anyone who disagrees with them, as underlined by their veiled threat to certain journalists at a recent press conference.
Civil society holds the key, and we must show the present political cabal no mercy. We must start to believe in ourselves and stop listening to all the politically populist babble, and their even baser ploy of throwing pooh at each other in the hope that some of it will stick. We need to stand up to politicians of all parties and say we have had enough of your divisive policies and behaviour. We must also tell them in no uncertain terms that we are no longer going to pay for unnecessary sycophants, and other party faithful cadres, that they parachute into municipalities through the irrelevant proportional representation system.
To break the stranglehold that politicians have over us and our local governments, we need to change the dual candidacy proportional representation party list system to a single candidacy constituency based system. While political resistance to this is guaranteed, we must believe that we can force them to change this insidious system, and not just shrug it off as an impossibility – as Madiba said “It is always impossible until it is done”. Time is short, but #PRMUSTFALL before we are saddled with another 5 years of this unnecessary political expense.