week I have a letter from the Sunday Times columnist Phylicia Oppelt.This
shows the trust and support the ANC enjoys in our country.
Mr President,I first voted for the ANC in 1994. I knew that my vote was
a mere slip of paper among millions in the ballot boxes, but I believed
that it counted and, together with those millions of others. It helped
put your party in power.
year I looked for the black, green and gold ANC flag on the ballot list
again. I made my mark and prayed that things would get better in South
prayed, in a non-religious kind of way, that the poor would be uplifted,
old people taken care of and the ill able to visit a clinic or find a hospital
bed, I also threw in the hope that the gap between South Africans, economically
and racially, would slowly but surely be narrowed.
watched you raise your hand to swear allegiance to this country during
your inauguration. And I felt an enormous sense of privilege, awe and pride
at being South African.
Mr. President, I am confused. While there is no other party I wish to vote
for, I am not certain whether to visit the polling station when the local
government elections are held later this year.
confusion starts with you. Listening to the statements you have made on
HIV/AIDS baffles me. What am I to believe? Does AIDS exist? Can I have
sex without a condom? Can I be HIV positive and breast-feed my HIV negative
have felt anger when seeing members of your party behave in an arrogant
and foolish manner. For example, your spokesman, Parks Mankahlana. has,
over several months, behaved like an inept bully. As if unaware of the
seriousness of his utterances, he spoke about throwing important AIDS documentation
into dustbins, while his regular appearances in maintenance courts signify
the actions of a man with a lack of respect for women.Listening to the
elderly speak at the hearings for the aged arranged by the Minister of
Welfare and Population Development, Zola Skweyiya, saddens me.
government's slogan appears to be: "So many old people, so little money
read the beautiful speeches you've offered us the hope at a rebirth of
the African continent and a pledge of reconciliation to Afrikaners. But
I've also listened to your accusations of racism against white people as
if this alone explains where we are six years into democracy. Racism does
exist, but it does not whitewash the inadequacies and faults of your government.Your
local government election manifesto, launched last Sunday, states that
the ANC will "take firm measures to combat corruption and nepotism". But
too often we read of undisciplined government officials who steal with
impunity from the poor, Welfare and pension grants get rigged, education
officials sell matric exam papers and police officers accept bribes to
make dockets disappear. How can we hold government officials to account
when we live without a collective SA morality?
1994 manifesto offered hope to the millions of people without jobs. It
said job creation would be "at the top of the ANC government's agenda".
It promised to immediately start a national public works programme to address
community needs and create jobs. According to your estimates, the programme
would have provided employment and training for about '2.5 million people
by 2004'.I'm not that good with figures, but Cosatu argues that your Growth,
Employment and Redistribution macroeconomic strategy has led to 500 000
lob losses. In
subsequent election manifestos you've pointed to deliveries: a million
houses, electricity, clean water and more than 1.8 million new telephone
lines. It's great that Northern Cape families have telephone lines, but
how can they pay for the service it they don't have jobs?
know that I've benefited from the government. As a woman, and a black one
at that, I am a prime candidate for affirmative action policies. So I shouldn't
really complain, should I? In my good post-apartheid life, I should not
give a damn about women beaten up by partners, HIV-positive pregnant women
denied AZT or children raped by men who have succumbed to the belief that
sex with a virgin cures them of AIDS.I still have until December 5. when
the election will be held, to make up my mind. But besides more water,
more electricity and more telephone lines, what can you offer us?
makes you think, doesn't it?