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16 October 2000 
Dear Mr. President

This week I have a letter from the Sunday Times columnist Phylicia Oppelt.This shows the trust and support the ANC enjoys in our country.

Dear 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. 
Last 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 Africa.
I 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.
I 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.

But 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.
My 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 baby?
I 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. 
The government's slogan appears to be: "So many old people, so little money and concern".
I've 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?
Your 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?
I 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?

This makes you think, doesn't it?