FILE - Voting. IEC voting centre at the Sharicrest Primary School in Eldorado Park. 030816. Picture: Chris Collingridge 232
FILE - Voting. IEC voting centre at the Sharicrest Primary School in Eldorado Park. 030816. Picture: Chris Collingridge 232

Voters must bypass politics to claim control over government

By Opinion Time of article published Aug 22, 2021

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OPINION: Having more than five political parties is destructive especially if most share similar ideology or represent the interests of only a fraction of what must be done in this country, writes Sihle Sibiya.

The interests of South Africa’s majority African population remain unaddressed even though they are provided for in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and National Development Plan (NDP). And it is now time that Africans, especially youth and women, undertake some mathematical modelling to assert their influence to inform the change they would like to see happen in this country.

The difficulties facing the ruling party and its inability to respond to the bread and butter issues facing the majority does not inspire confidence especially for Africans whose majority is unemployed, poor and drowning in poverty.

Given the number of political parties we have, it makes it difficult to predict the future of the country if the ruling party gets fewer than its historic voting averages in the upcoming national elections.

It is up to voters to unite and enforce that certainty. This can only be achieved if those that have lost trust in politics unite under a non-political organisation to define and drive a collective agenda for government.

Through this kind of self-organisation they must use their numbers to capture a political party through a formal arrangement to implement such a collective agenda.

This non-political organisation needs to be the glue amongst existing established organisations who serve selected constituencies within African communities. This will address the shared interests amongst Africans which remain a challenge for the current organisations serving selected constituencies.

Such a formation will result in impactful voting and drive broad ownership of government programs.

Given political membership and average voter turnout this will strengthen democracy and provide an alternative to limit risks posed by the current politics of the country.

Having more than five political parties is destructive especially if most share similar ideology or represent the interests of only a fraction of what must be done in this country.

Only voters taking control of the future of this country will challenge this status quo.

Political independency and a commitment to a competitive South Africa is of serious concern for the future of this country. The only option is to address this from outside politics to ensure radical impact and undermine red tapes within politics and political parties.

Voters must consider a framework in which their collective interests on government must be formulated. The framework has to be something easy for people to remember and articulate. Understanding the South African context, the framework must be composed of three interrelated strategic pillars: Social, Economy and Education (SEE).

Social

Social must include a proper strategy on how to empower some of those receiving social support to be active in the economy. It must include transformation of our health care system to ensure that local herbs get to be processed locally to an acceptable standard to be considered while improving access. Government must invest in an integrated system to promote transparency and accountability to improve service delivery. Government must consider improving security and safety of the citizens of this country. This includes strengthening management of borders.

Economy

In driving inclusive economic transformation, government policies will need to be clear on the classification of local and foreign business investment opportunities. Critical to inclusive economic development is the true transformation of the financial sector. Some of the economic drivers to be considered include: Mineral, Energy, Agriculture, Tourism, Ocean economy, Technology, Research, innovation and development. Government businesses must be revived with full government ownership and control. Performance in these businesses must not be compromised. Government must promote and support local production and ownership of products, solutions and services. Proper analysis of the different sectors in our economy is of critical importance to determine ownership patterns with the aim to ensure fairness.

Education

The education system must be informed by the economic priorities to ensure quality of education and graduates access to opportunities. The education system must be an entrepreneurial driven education system. Government must promote both formal and informal education to ensure a balance education system grounded on good moral values.

The same framework together with the national government collective interests must inform local government collective interests. Collective interests must be packaged with the leadership characteristics to inform the nomination of those to drive the implementation. Once these collective interests have been developed it must be well marketed for both voter buy-in and input. The youth must rethink their role, responsibility and lifestyles to ensure their priorities are aligned towards writing their own history to deliver political, social and economic freedom.

It is true that the reconfiguration and healing of self for each and every one of us must take place to ensure readiness for a united South Africa that is fully owned by collective South Africans for South Africans.

Voters must recognize that the only weapon for success available at their disposal is unity, innovation and collaboration. Voters must consider taking advantage of the fourth Industrial revolution to advance their agenda for social and economic freedom. The youth must champion the healing and unity of our society to ensure inclusive participation of communities, shared vision about this country, the understanding and appreciation of the status quo by the society.

According to the mid-year estimates of 2019, youth aged between 17 and 35 constitute 18 million, almost a third of the population of South Africa with women were almost 9 million. In 2020, South Africa's female population totaled 30.09 million.

It must be noted that according to statistics SA, of the 39 million people in the working group 14.1 million are working and 17 million are the recipients of social grants. African youth unemployment is almost 75%.

Total votes cast in the 2019 national election was 17.7 million and around 17.4 million were valid votes. Out of the 48 political parties, the top six got 16.7 million while the rest in total got less than a million. It is time that voters does not get to be limited by the limitations of political parties.

* Sihle Sibiya is the chairperson of the Insika Economic Movement.

*** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.

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