Whilst in agreement with Judge Thumba Pillay’s appeal for an overhaul of parliamentary representation (Mercury, September 11), the electoral system also merits review.
As it stands, all citizens over the age of 18 have the vote in determining who holds power in South Africa Inc. Thus, the vote of an unemployed person, who pays no tax and is a beneficiary of state welfare, has the same value as a person whose taxes the government depends upon to fund welfare and to run the country.
As things stand in South Africa, a minority of taxpayers, fewer than 10 million, funds a growing majority of non-taxpayers – more than 17 million. Obviously, such a situation is not sustainable in the long term as former Finance minister Trevor Manuel has pointed out. Nonetheless, that vast number of welfare-dependent voters is exploited by communists and socialists in the ANC to remain in power. As history shows, the success of socialism has always been to promote equality in poverty and mediocrity. The growth in unemployment from three million in 1994 to over nine million is proof of the failure of socialism to alleviate poverty.
Thus, we need an electoral system which will promote better governance by strengthening the role of stakeholders in the economy of the country. In such a system everyone would have a single vote irrespective of their status. Additional votes would accrue to taxpayers based on the extent of their contribution to the SA Revenue Service. That would promote transparency and accountability in revenue collection and ensure that those with actual stakes in the economy had a greater and fairer measure of influence in policymaking. Political parties would be obliged to tailor their policies and the quality of their representatives to reflect the democratic wishes of such an electorate.
Rising tax revenues would enable those in power to expand employment opportunities thereby progressively reducing unemployment and dependence on welfare. It is a win-win system because of the benefits of improved governance for all, while seriously curbing the cycle of poverty and the practice of those who exploit it for failed ideological and selfish political reasons. In short, systems based on merit promote upliftment, whereas mediocrity ensures stagnation and worse.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 11 September 2018.