29 May 2011

how about dem elections...

so, almost two weeks ago, there were local government elections here in south africa. there was overall voter turnout of nearly 60%, which was very high for almost anywhere outside of continental europe or various dictatorships, and apparently, much of the additional votes went to new political party the national freedom party -- which doesn't have a website, but does have a few facebook groups.

some more of those votes also went to cementing control of cape town by the official opposition, the democratic alliance (da). the da, since 2006, had run cape town via a seven-party coalition, but this time around they received an outright majority -- and a much stronger majority than many of the other metropoles. they had port elizabeth in their sights, and almost got it on the ward councillor level, but proportional representation is what did them in. you can see the full results of the local government elections here.

i was sort of hoping that the african national congress (anc) would have taken back cape town, so i could see how long i could go without paying the rates on my properties before getting a warning letter. [i already know how long it takes in a da-ruled municipality.] but it would seem that i'm not going to get that chance.

some south african readers might think that this post would be an ode to the da, but i would disagree. i'm not a big fan of most of the south african political parties in general, but i will say that i am quite glad that the da ran an overall positive campaign this time around in focusing on service delivery instead of scare tactics like "if you don't vote for the anc, mandela will die" [i'm not making this up.]

another thing i liked about the da's campaign is this poster. it shows the leader of the party, helen zille [who is the premier of the western cape], patricia de lille [the mayor-elect of cape town] and lindiwe mazibuko [the national spokesperson]. this article is a fairly good cover of ms mazibuko. my only fault with her, to be honest, is that she should have taken on blade nzimande on the floor of the national assembly when she had a chance [and, more importantly, done it in isizulu or siswati]. blade might harp on her about not being from the townships, but she definitely has izinwele kwakasi. [an annoying thing about south africans in general, regardless of race, is they don't seem to be big on hair care.]

but anyway, back to the poster. it shows the three women at the forefront of the party, and pretty much that, barring some bizarre collapse, mazibuko will get to run it, after aunty pat gets a few minutes. [zille and de lille are the same age tho -- zille is three-ish weeks younger than de lille] also unspoken is the fact that south african women do most of the heavy lifting among south africans who work, in the face of some of the most ridiculous sexism on the planet.

the sexism here is pretty bad. i'm glad to be male, but after having moved here, i've found myself extra grateful for that y-chromosome sperm reaching the egg first. it's really ridic.

the sexism is also a factor in the breakaway national freedom party, headed by zanele kamagwaza-msibi. it would appear that the wikipedia article about her was written by someone still loyal to the inkatha freedom party (ifp), as there is zero mention of her leaving the party. in any case, she was the national chairperson of the ifp, and when it was time to have leadership elections in the party, for some reason they were cancelled. many people both inside and outside the party considered her popular enough to unseat the party leader, mangosuthu buthelezi, who has led the party since its inception. interestingly enough, buthelezi is second cousin to the current zulu king, and there's been a lot of chatter in the media that the heads of the royal zulu families are not really interested in a woman leading the official zulu political party. given that women in kwazulu natal are often beaten and stripped naked for the "crime" of wearing trousers, this would not be particularly surprising.

another thing that particularly annoyed me was the shoddy television reporting by both the south african broadcasting corporation [sabc] -- it's so pro-government that i often call it "pravda" -- and its commercial rival e.tv. it was just overall bad -- american coverage of the 2000 presidential election bad. really effing dreadful. after a while, i had become nauseated by the sabc's eusebius mckaiser and tsepiso makwetla and etv's jeremy maggs and iman rappetti in particular. [while i'm on the subject of e-news, macfarlane moleli has become quite the mavis lately, innit? it's not a good look.]

the coverage was just bad. both channels had cute ongoing graphs for the 48 hours of vote-counting, but the analysts they brought on, not to mention the reporters' own personal prejudices, completely turned me off. that said, the analysts brought on e at least tried to hide their prejudices, but the ones on pravda? no way. one of even said, "unfortunately, it looks like the anc will not win cape town." it was really gross.

it reminded me of why i've been dragging my feet in getting permanent residence here -- if i do, then i'll have to pay income taxes to this place. i'm okay with only paying VAT.

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