Archived 2013 Articles


Pieter-Dirk Uys

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– Pieter-Dirk Uys, Cape Times, 6 May 2013

Of late we have become aware of movements among opposition parties and clusters to find some way to unite their efforts in appealing to voters in next year's general election. Tweets and twitters have hinted at ego-driven demands and ultimatums, power plays and the usual cacophony associated with a clash of political titans. One just hopes it will not all end up like the Titanic. What South Africa needs is not more political parties, but a broad-based involvement in the arena of political discussion by the citizens of this democracy who vote politicians into their positions of power. Some weeks ago an article on the human DNA set my juices flowing. What a great hook that would be for a political movement! We are, as citizens, part of a national DNA. And so appeared the name: South Africa's Democratic National Alternative.

SA's DNA? There's a catchy name that includes essential passwords like democratic and national. But not a party or an alliance, with no reference to opposition. Alternative contributions are what is often rare and always needed in a democracy, not opposition to the essence of democracy, which is too often seen only as represented by policies of a ruling party. How does one get this idea out to the people who are not yet decided on a name that would be the umbrella for a multitude of talent? Would  the DA's Zille-de Lille-en-hulle embrace the idea? Could the Agang think tank be interested? Could COPE, those two halves of one whole, imagine their future in a working ensemble? Was the PAC still a party, or just an old letterhead? But wouldn't that be a false start to attracting attention from beyond the converted few, if this question emerged from under the wings of an established political entity?

Our 2014 General Election is probably the most important election in our democracy.For the first time in our history, we will have young citizens voting who have no experience of legalized racism, no history of separate development, no baggage of official apartheid. This is a generation of born-frees with no wounds, no guilt or sentiment about the Struggle nor a commitment to support a former liberation movement. These young people, born after Nelson Mandela was released, are exercising for the first time their constitutional rights.

I respect both sides of the political coin and always thank them for how they inspire me. How they put the words into my mouth. I know my DA and I know my ANC to put on good one-party shows. But I am concerned about those other political energies without a show, without a good title, without the bums on seats, the voters and their crosses on the ballot.

The next election should be about choice. Out of a few dozen, ten significant parties will be clustered together on the ballot, like good ten songs on a hit parade list still headed by the golden oldie. They must not sound the same. They each have a focus on different issues. Reactions to them will come as diverse opinions. These smaller parties are all important in finding that essential balance of give and take that makes democracy the most perfect imperfect political system in history,"so far."

And so far,after nearly 20 years as a democratically-elected government, that soap-opera in the Luthuli Opera House has proved that the show must go on, even in power outages and with backstage strikes. They can even afford to give away many complimentary tickets, with a free T-shirt and a boerewors roll! Bad news has become a national curse. It is harder than ever to see the successes and the achievements through the mists of corruption, mismanagement, arrogance, racism and carelessness.

But if our glass must remain half-full and never be seen as being half-empty, let us acknowledge the good citizens in government, in opposition, in the civil service, the army, the police, the municipalities and councils, provincial and national. They are far more in numbers than the bad ones. Maybe SA's DNA will be an encouragement to those talented political energies outside government, those 'songwriters, singers, chorus members and choreographers' that make up the opposition, to see their role in this coming election-extravaganza not as opposition to democracy, but as a passionate united committed alternative to making our democracy more successful, safer and easily accessible to all citizens.

And especially to the young voters who will choose their future with confidence. They have a constitution that will protect them all — as long as we protect that constitution.

South Africa's Democratic National Alternative and domain www.sa-dna.org.za are registered and waiting to be used to attract that audience that will keep the lights on in South Africa's Grand Political Boulevard of Choice.


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