Apr. 14 (GIN) – As the May 7 election day in South Africa nears, former friends and allies of the ruling African National Congress are betting that voters will follow them out of the party or at least send a strong message that the country’s current direction is not good enough.
A number of veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle and former government leaders have even launched a “Vote NO!” campaign that could dash ANC hopes for a quick and easy win.
Among the veterans is former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and other ANC stalwarts.
“Sidikiwe! Vukani! – “We are fed up! Wake up!” That’s the message coming from some longtime ANC loyalists who now say: “The ANC needs to know that it can no longer take for granted its traditional support and we would be failing South Africa and our democracy by not voting.”
Other groups expecting to pick up votes from disillusioned voters are the Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema, the Democratic Alliance led by Helen Zille and the United Democratic Movement led by Bantu Holomisa.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe rebuked the now-opposition leaders saying they hadn’t done a good job when they were in Cabinet. Also with the opposition is Pallo Jordan, current member of the party’s national executive committee who has written columns critical of the $23 million upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s country estate.
Income inequality is one issue that particularly incenses South Africans who are aghast at the sky high salaries for corporate CEOs.
There are “super salaries at the top, and very meager livelihoods at the bottom,” said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. “The highest-paid chief executive has earned 51,000 times what someone earns at the lowest rung. That’s the level of inequality that we have in South Africa.”
Opposition politician Mamphela Ramphele said the Nkandla affair has exposed a serious flaw in the ruling party. “The ANC is in the death grip of corrupt, greedy and arrogant people who don’t actually see that they are destroying this beautiful country and its resources.”
Meanwhile, a popular parody song has become the refrain of the President’s re-election campaign. It goes: “If you’re number one, you get to drive the gravy train.”