Saturday, 01 November 2008

National Convention - SA's Democracy Grows Up

Although I have never voted for the ANC, believing instead in a strong united opposition to an already dominant political party, there were some things about the party I had come to respect. Their insistence, for example, over decades that South Africa be a free democracy in which all its citizens had an equal vote was always something I respected. Economic policy under the ANC government has transformed this country's economic standing on the world stage.

However over the past few years, it has become apparent that the ball-and-chain of freedom politics has weighed the ANC down and it has become yet another freedom party struggling to shake that yoke and become a truly democratic and representative party of the people.

The forced resignation of the president of the Republic and the subsequent nonsensical ramblings of some party faithful made many, including myself, wonder if we were at the top of a very slippery slope, wondering if perhaps our young democracy was about to be derailed by the personal ambitions of a few party elite.

I remember saying to friends and family at the time of former President Mbeki's resignation that this would be the beginning of the end of the ANC as we currently know it. Soon after came the party resignations of many senior-ranking ANC comrades. Some said this was out of respect for Thabo Mbeki, others say it was because of the manner in which the incident was handled. I believe though that these people left the ANC because they too were able to see a bleak future in which greedy politicians enriched themselves at the expense of the poor and where personal promotion came before the national interest.

This weekend's National Convention is the best thing to happen to South African politics in a very long time. It is indicative of a dissatisfaction of the status quo; a restlessness to move from promises of a better life for all to the delivery of these promises; a desire to see true democracy without floor-crossing and the expectations of race-based politics.

The fact that such a convention is happening is proof that our young democracy is growing up and that the people of this country will not sit by and watch a party which appears to have lost its way bring it to its political and economic knees.

I am hoping for a positive outcome after this convention and hoping that the 4000 expected in Sandton will leave with a clearer idea of what is needed to continue to build South Africa into a more prosperous country for all its citizens.

National Convention homepage -

Video report from Day 1 of the Convention :

Sam Shilowa invites South Africans to participate in the National Convention :


Nic said...

You should check out Zoopy - we got video from the event today:

eishman said...

Can't help but agree with your comments. The month's that lie ahead between now and the election will show us just how mature a democracy we truly have. Have we moved out of the 'need to be told how to act/vote etc' tweens, are we in the rebellious teens or have we managed to move on to true adulthood.
I am hoping for the latter

Anonymous said...

It has been sometime that I dettached myself from politics.As an ANC member, card carrying for that matter,I attended the National Convention well aware of the implications of which I couldn't care as the inner calling was stronger and could not ignore.For the first in years, I experienced total freedom, sense of liberation,non intimidating environment as I sought out to look for a political home after being disillioned by the lack of ubuntu,lies, name calling, disrespect of elders and total inconsideration actions of the ANC NEC members.I attended the National Convetion for my children'sake, for the well being of our nation and the promotion of true democracy.I needed to be well informed when I make a decision, a decision that is guided by own principles and values. A decision that is rational and not clouded by stupid loyalty.The result was I was comfortable, I am glad that I attended because I feel totally liberated to make a decision, not coerced, not influenced by sms's doing rounds in the ANC. I am taking total responsibility of this decision to join the new party that is alligned to my own individual values and princiles, in harmony with principle of humanity (Ubuntu), African cultural,my faith and my own spirituality. I feel part of me celebrating this innermost feeling. I totally acknowledge the task and responsibility at hand of restoring our pride, morals, values, respect of our consitution and defending our hard earned democracy.This is my political home which I pledge my support and contribute in any way I can without any reservations of expectations.Lastly I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the South Africa young people to seek education because it will give them ammunition to the many challenges we are faced with in our country including leadership.

eishman said...

Anonymous, while you talk a lot of sense, my hope is that the new party is able to recruit members, not merely from disillusioned ANC members but due to tangible policy directions.
Your comment "not influenced by sms's doing rounds in the ANC" makes we worry, I would love to know what the contents of these smses have been.
Finally hear, hear to your parting thought "Lastly I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the South Africa young people to seek education because it will give them ammunition to the many challenges we are faced with in our country including leadership."

Arthur said...

@nic - thanks mate; have added the video.

@eishman - I would like to think that we are moving into adult democracy; its taken some time but I think that the 'teenage democracy' years are over. Now lets wait to see what happens during the young adult years when all this freedom can 'go to one's head'!

@anonymous - I love the comment that you attended the National Convention for your children's sake. This is why we need our democracy to grow up. I agree with Eishman that I would love to see the SMS's of which you speak. While every party has the right to encourage its voters through technology, I cannot help wondering if the same technology cannot be used for propoganda and hate-mongering.
Amen to your final comment - instead of following the ramblings of the ANC Youth League, our young people should be spending time where it matters most - studying their way to a better future and to a country where clear moral leadership is the norm not the exception.