Voting Is About Principles; Politics Is About Compromise

The myth that threatens our multi-party democracy is that only a big party can wrestle down the ANC. But the promoters of this myth ignore the fact that South Africa’s social and political landscape is a very diverse one. Thus, it is politically naïve to embrace the view that one size fits all and to project an image of all things to all men.

As a consequence, the broad church the DA claims to be is actually fraught with fissures and fractures as it attempts to juggle the disparities and differences between communities, minorities and interest groups. The momentum of the DA thus depends on a compromise which means satisfying one group comes at the expense of another.

The crucial issue to appreciate is that opposition to the ANC is neither an exclusive nor a single-issue cause. DA policy, for example on abortion and LGBT is not shared by parties which emphasise Christian values. The DA’s support for B-BBEE and affirmative action is opposed by the Freedom Front Plus which calls for the abolition of those policies in the interests of genuine non-racialism, merit and fairness towards minority groups.

Differences on land reform, trade unions, tertiary education policy, language usage, and interpretation of history are among the many issues which clamour for expression and address. Such issues are best represented in coalitions.

Voting, therefore, is about showing a preference for one’s principles and values. It is not an exercise in manoeuvring in which size is given preference over values and principles in an attempt to order a political outcome.

As inter-party debates have shown, the collective strength and range of opposition voices to the ANC demolishes the argument that opposition is best served by one big party.

Sent into The Mercury, The Cape Argus, The Star, The Witness, and The Daily News and published, 27 April 2019.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *