The difference between governance and patronage was on view in the overdue vote to oust Mxolisi Kaunda as mayor of eThekwini municipality (The Mercury, February 1). Unfortunately, patronage triumphed.
Governance was represented by those parties which supported the motion to dismiss the mayor for the shambles in the municipality under his leadership. With regular reports of the descent of eThekwini municipality into debt and dystopia, it made sense to oust him. After all, a fish rots from the head.
But preventing a victory for governance was the cabal of one-seat PR parties which clearly price political patronage above governance. Collectively they represent less than one percent of eThekwini voters, yet they were able to thwart the righteous cause of governance.
One particular member of the cabal is Visvin Reddy. Although of late the ink seems to have run dry in his pen, he has been a relentless critic of the declining state of eThekwini municipality. Given his vociferous track record of criticism, why did he absent himself from the vote? Here was his big opportunity to walk his talk. But he copped out.
As the DA leader, Cllr Thabani Mthethwa has stated, it is to be hoped that the voters punish these turncoats and patronage dependents at the polls. But more than that, voters need to appreciate that governance is not facilitated by this plethora of one-seat parties. Instead, it is exploited in the interests of patronage and power.
There should be a regulation which specifies that unless a prospective party can legitimately produce 10,000 verifiable voters’ addresses and signatures, it cannot be on the municipal ballot paper.