Monday, November 24, 2008

African demockracy (sic) in action

Lets hope the impending violence doesn't spill over to the suburbs...

In just over a fortnight 24 by-elections will be held in the Western Cape and many voters are worried the battle between the ANC and COPE could turn into a violent street fight in some areas.

Most people in Philippi and Gugulethu were too scared to speak to the Weekend Argus about who they supported.

One Philippi man was so fearful he kept on looking around. He said that there was so much tension between ANC and Congress of the People supporters that he was too afraid to say how he felt about the split in the ANC.

"You will not believe how scared we all are of saying who we support, the tension here is great. We don't know who to trust."

A young woman said she was frightened the ANC/COPE rivalry would provoke a "civil war" in the run-up to elections.

Four of the December 10 by-elections - in eight Western Cape municipalities - will be held in Philippi after the ANC told its councillors to resign or face expulsion when it became apparent they supported COPE.

Vuyo Nyatela, who is on the ANC's interim branch executive in ward 88, Philippi, said his party was running a door-to-door campaign to tell people to "let those who want to go, go" and to provide information about the split.

"Some of the people we interviewed said they won't vote, they are still unemployed and they don't have houses. We are trying to convince people but we can't predict their support."

Nyatela said, however, the split was "good for democracy".

"All who belong to the ANC have a right to leave, there is nothing wrong in doing so."

Philippi was the scene of violence in 2001 between the ANC and the United Democratic Movement and of tensions between the ANC and DA.

Several councillors were murdered and things became so tense that then Anglican archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane hosted a peace summit that September.

Those events are still fresh in the minds of many people and the leadership of the new party say they have an agreement with the police to give advance notice of meetings in case there is trouble. They are also appealing to their supporters to remain calm.

Some residents say they will still vote for the ANC even though they don't support Jacob Zuma and have nothing good to say about the Youth League's Julius Malema.

One woman who was unafraid to speak out was singer and restaurant owner Mpho Motheane-Shuping. Even though she and her group are paid to sing at ANC events, she said she had no respect for Zuma and welcomed the formation of Cope.

"I would not like to see Zuma as president. He doesn't talk about the ANC and what the ANC can do for the people, he mentions Thabo (Mbeki) and (Terror) Lekota.

"I heard him call people dogs and snakes - when you want people to follow you, you must be mature about what you say, you just don't call people dogs and snakes. And that Julius, he's not disciplined, I get so angry when I hear him speak."

At the Philippi taxi rank a group of people in a restaurant refused to speak to Weekend Argus. A man sitting at a table lifted his face, stared and then shooed reporters away with his spoon.

There is also a lot of misinformation doing the rounds in Philippi.

"If Zuma becomes president he is going to stop the child grants and ban women wearing pants," one young woman said, adding that she wanted Mbeki back.

Akhona Ndabeni said: "The new party is standing for xenophobia and that is bad."

Andrew Ndzuta added: "I want to vote for the ANC but not for Zuma. But I have to vote for the ANC."

In Gugulethu, a traditional ANC stronghold, Samuel Mehlo and his son Christopher said the ANC ran in their blood.

But Christopher Mehlo said: "Julius (Malema) should learn how to speak to adults. When Thabo Mbeki was present he (Malema) spoke to him as if he was speaking to a child."

Clement Moshe and his wife Edna said they were confused about who to support as both parties appeared to be fighting each other instead of coming up with solutions to the country's crime, education and housing crises.

Moshe said: "The safety of our people is of concern to me. I fear a mini-civil war because of Cope and the ANC."

Calvin Matiza said there was no way he could leave the ANC as it was the "liberation party".

"Everyone knows it is the ANC who fought for us. I never thought that the ANC would split, it has never crossed my mind that there could be a president other than an ANC president."

2 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

Gee Albs, is the feeling of dread that bad? It's hard to gauge the sentiment being out of the country and all.

Albeus Ergo Cogito said...

Bru, we're sitting with baited breath.
You remember how these people go into a trance like insane frenzy when they get worked up? That unbelievable mob histeria? And it doesn't take much to get them going either...
Ever been to an African funeral? The hairs on my arms stood straight up...!
We whities are sitting back and observing.