Is this really the best South Africa can do?

Nothing to do with sport, or blogging, although I’m sure that the phrase will have been used many times in these contexts.

No, while I am uploading photos from LAST weekend, and indeed this weekend, I thought that you might enjoy(?) this biting column by Mark Gevisser on the 20th anniversary of the first democratic vote in SA.

Gevisser compares Zuma and Pistorius far more incisively and accurately (for me) than Jani Allen’s pisspoor open letter managed to compare the latter with Eugene Terreblanche, and paints a damning picture of the current, rather depressing situation here.

With Nelson Mandela dead and his African National Congress increasingly troubled, Pistorius and Zuma have, distressingly, become the poster boys for South Africa’s 20 Years of Freedom celebrations.

We South Africans love an underdog, perhaps because of our history, and both Zuma and Pistorius have milked that role. From an Afrikaner Calvinist tradition, Pistorius offers a story of triumph over adversity through God-fearing hard work. Then Zuma, from a poor rural Zulu and working-class township background, presents a narrative of the cunning trickster with little formal education who always finds himself on his feet and takes what he needs with a nudge and a wink.

Both men have been breathtaking in their perseverance and achievement. Zuma stopped a bloody civil war in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. And, as an undereducated peasant who has risen to the very top, he stands as a symbol to black South Africans that they can be masters of their own destiny. Similarly, Pistorius transforms our understanding of what “able-bodied” means, even in the way he strides up to the dock.

It makes difficult reading, perhaps most worryingly because there’s nothing untrue or even vaguely hyperbolic about what he tells us. So, because I’ve apparently been quite grumpy lately (moi? grumpy?!?), I thought you might like to have a read of just how rubbish it is here right now.

It’s not really. We had a great birthday party for Alex today and there was 15kg of Lego and a chocolate fountain involved.

Ex-pat voting – tying up loose ends

Just seen this on twitter (via @SAelections from The Times):

The DA has won the overseas vote by 7581, COPE got 918, ANC only got 673 out of the 9857 that were cast in total.

That only leaves a maximum of 622 for the VF+. They must be pretty annoyed after all the effort they went to.
It does mean that the DA secured 77% of the expat vote and can now change the Constitution of Putney and Wimbledon. Or something.

Anyway, now the DA can add those 7,581 votes to the approximately 1,200,000 they had about an hour ago.
“Drop in the ocean” or “Viva Democracy, Viva!!”? Or perhaps a bit of both?

Incidentally, I make that a 60.5% turnout overseas in comparison with 77% here in SA, which I find strange after all the court cases, acrimony and the effort that people had to make to register.
Rather apathetic. Which is only one more letter than this whole ex-pat voting saga has been from the start.

EDIT: Here’s a snap of the IEC’s overseas election results board. VF+ only polled 270 votes. Oops!

overseas

DA landslide ‘destroys Zuma, ANC’

Democratic Alliance take shock landslide victory in South African elections, suggests exit poll.

According to the results of an exit poll conducted during the National and Provincial elections yesterday and published after the ballots had closed in the late evening, the DA is heading for a unprecedented landslide victory over the much-fancied ANC and seems likely to take as much as 94% of the vote.

The exit poll was taken outside the Polling Station at St. Laadedah Primary School in Cape Town’s upmarket Constantia suburb by independent survey company Census Reviews and Polls (CRaP) and showed that of sixteen voters leaving the station who expressed an opinion, fifteen (93.75%) had voted for the DA.

DA spokesperson Jannie van Wyk was excited by the results:

I recognise that this is just one exit poll, but if we extrapolate the results from this significant survey, we can see that it is obvious that our policies and campaign strategies have borne fruit. A 94% share of the vote is significantly up from our showing at the last election, which was 12%, and I think we can put that down to our hard work in offering the voting public a viable alternative the Jacob Zuma and the ANC.
With this landslide victory, we can work on putting those policies into action as we will presumably control nine of the nine provinces which were contested as well as the national government. In fact, with sure a significant majority in these South African elections, I see this as an opportunity for the DA to move into the rest of Africa and envisage Helen Zille as being Supreme Commander of the World by 2015. It’ll take a bit of tinkering with the Constitution, but that won’t be a problem with this sort of majority.

In fact, according to the exit poll, Jacob Zuma’s ANC have been wiped off the South African political map completely, having gained exactly 0% of the vote in Constantia Ward 76, while newcomers the Congress of the People (Cope) managed just 6%.

Cope heavyweight Mbhazima “Sam” Shilowa was disappointed by the poll:

I have to say that we were hoping to make double figures in this election. The party is just four months old, but I though we had gained more popular support than this on our anti-corruption ticket.
However, looking at the overall result, I think it will finally lay to rest the rumour that we were going to enter into a coalition with the ANC after the election. They clearly have less to bring to the table than we thought they would. Well, absolutely nothing actually. Not a sausage. Shame.

Other large parties who, according to the CRaP poll, failed to get a single vote nationally included the Independent Democrats (ID), Vryheids Front Plus (VF+) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
The Afrikaner VF+ were however, quick to disregard the results the Constantia poll though, saying that they preferred to base their predictions for the final outcome on an exit poll from Durbanville in Cape Town’s Northern suburbs, in which they had polled 100% of the votes cast, based on a sample size of 3.

“Zuma Free”

… with every R100 spent.

Not really, obviously. That would just be silly.

But an air of despondency and self-pity has settled over many of the more dramatic South Africans on the internet this morning. That’s because of this headline in today’s Sunday Times.

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JZ: Free

Unsurprisingly, I have a few remarks to make on this.
Firstly, that this has been coming for an awful long time. These people should really have got used to it by now. So quite where the shock and the outrage has come from, I’m not sure. Presumably, they’ve been living in a tent in the Karoo for the past 6 months. “Welcome back”, I guess.
Secondly, this is a report in the Sunday Times. Now, I know that it’s a bit of a pain, but I prefer to wait until the following week before passing comment on Sunday Times‘  stories. That’s just to give the editor time to print a retraction and an apology, together with the worthless assurance that it won’t happen again. Why weren’t they up in arms last week when iol.co.za reported: “Zuma Charges to be Dropped“?
Thirdly, the official NPA announcement (for what it’s worth) is due tomorrow at 10:30. If you want real pity, then Monday morning is always a good time to get it. Everyone’s in a bit of a sombre mood anyway and ready to join in a nice session of mutual commiseration.

It’s Monday and our President-in-waiting isn’t being charged with corruption. And it’s raining. And petrol went up last week. And the dog’s ill. And we lost the cricket. And Spar only had green bananas. And…

Finally, despite all these people wanting Zuma “to have his day in court”, they have already reached their verdict long ago. I mean, obviously, he’s guilty, isn’t he? Isn’t he? Why else would he be fighting at every possible stage to stop the case going to court? Proof of guilt, isn’t it?
Well, put yourself in JZ’s position for a moment. Let’s just suppose that you or I were charged with fraud or corruption or money-laundering or racketeering for a moment. Or even all four. And let’s say, just for the sake of this example, that you were innocent of those crimes. I don’t know about you, but I would be doing everything possible to get those charges against me dropped as soon as possible. I’d be taking every legal step I could. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would, particularly if you felt the system was primed to work against you.

With the NPA announcement tomorrow that they’re going to drop the charges (as we’re expecting), this matter could be finished. Nothing more to be said or done. Of course, unsatisfactory for some, yes. But you’re never going to please all of the people, all of the time. The justice system has not been raped, although many would like you to believe it has. But then, many of those people still believe that JZ is guilty of rape, despite his acquittal three years ago. So what is their word worth, anyway?

There was never going to be an easy way out of this mess. But if South Africa is ever going to move forward, there had to be some route taken. Much like petulant football players chasing the referee after a dodgy offside decision, moaning about it is futile. There will be no change of mind, no disallowed goal; you are merely prolonging the story for no real reason, save the detriment of the country – which helps no-one.  

Time to move on, SA.

Look out Zuma!

OK, so he may have other things on his mind today, but Jacob Zuma must also now face the fact that ex-pats are going to be voting in the April 22nd election, as predicted in 6000 miles… January 27th post.

Following court applications by opposition parties (namely the DA and the VF+), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) backed down on its initial refusal to allow ex-pat voting and – as long as interested people overseas registered their interest by the end of March – allowed them to vote.

Well, the numbers are out and Jacob Zuma and the ANC must be quaking in their boots. A total of 16,300 people are now registered to vote overseas. Assuming a reasonable turnout on the day of say, 50%, that’s about 8,000 votes shared mainly (presumably, anyway) between the DA and VF+. Scary numbers, indeed.

Yes, yes. I recognise that this was an exercise in exercising one’s rights, but honestly, what an utterly pathetic waste of time and money: like the political version of Earth Hour.
I am completely unsurprised that the parties involved have failed to mention the numbers, because frankly, they’re embarrassing. Compare and contrast their response with their spin about “standing up for voters’ constitutional rights” and the fanfare when they won the court ruling over the IEC. You can’t spin figures this poor.

I’m putting this one down as an own goal of note.