articles from 2010

– Pieter-Dirk Uys, The Mercury, 21 September 2010

This is not meant to be a fan letter to the African National Congress. There will be too many of them to hug at the same time, as well as too many to push away. But when it comes to loving South Africa, I can only echo a seldom-used word to sum up the impression of this Durban-based ANC Imbizo/Saamtrek/Gemors.

Memorable as always.

Polokwane showed us that only in a healthy democracy can dirty washing be hung out in the sunlight with the latest fragile fashion. Only in a strong democracy as ours still claims to be, can the ruling party expose itself to ridicule and contempt, cartoons and buffoons, through loudly analyzing some things that are wrong. And other issues that should not be overpowered by those that are right. Or in this case, left.

The ANC keeps changing its spots. This leopard was once known as ‘ANC = African National Congress’. Then it became snidely referred to as standing for ‘ANC = A Nice Cheque’. Recently ‘ANC = A New Corruption’ has been more to the liking of the majority of those unimpressed among our people. But the truth is that the ANC = whatever those letters stand for, will always investigate every cul-de-sac before they find the freeway.

Let us be eternally grateful for many things.

South Africa doesn’t suffer from seasonal tornados, snowstorms or blizzards. We do not have tsunamis and earthquakes. We should not expect hurricanes or volcanic eruptions. All we have are predictable political upheavals that can only underline the success of an unpredictable system of consultation through accusation. Besides Julius Malema, ZEE, and a culture of walala-wasala (you-snooze-you-lose), we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, the right to disagree and the right to change our minds. Democracy will never be perfect, because it is touched by human hands. But at least every citizen still has the right to make a fool of themselves and be laughed at by all. No media tribunal could ever spoil the fun we all get from exposing each other’s faults and foibles.

The lazy politician will always be super-fat. The crook will always be media-fingered. The liar will always be triple-trapped. The fool will always be loudly celebrated. And the unlucky political party in charge of the future development of a fair society will always wake up with a hideous headache and go to bed with a aching cramp. Let the comrades-in-conference realize that they are being watched with compassion, heard with concern, disagreed with passionately, complimented with irritation and voted for only through conviction and respect.

The ball will always be in their court.