04 February 2006

Goodbye democracy, it was nice knowing you

Local government elections are to be held on 1 March 2006, but it really is a bit of a farce. There is no point in voting, because no matter which party you vote for, a politician will be elected, and at the next "floor crossing window" the politicans will override your vote on the basis of which party makes them the best offer.

In 1994 we in South Africa were delivered from a race oligarchy, and got democracy -- one man one vote, free and fair elections.

But it didn't last long. Because there is a loophole in the constitution that nullifies democracy by allowing floor crossing. Now any fool can see that in a proportional representation system with closed party lists, allowing floor crossing by elected representatives takes the power from the voters and puts it in the hands of the politicians themselves, who thereafter are self-selected and self elected.

In South Africa elections are no longer a significant part of the political process. They have been replaced by a series of auctions in which the politicians get to sell their soul to the highest bidder.

Oh, elections are still held -- it gives the people the illusion that we still have democracy, and especially people elsewhere in the world, who don't realise that the real decisions are made in the auctions that follow the elections, where the politicians manipulate the process to their own personal advantage.

Some have tried to defend this, by saying that those elected need to have freedom of conscience and all that, and that is part of their human rights. But that's nonsense. Why should the rights of the crosstitutes take precedence over the rights of the citizens? In effect, the "human rights" of 400 parliamentarians nullify the right of 40 million South Africans to choose their government. Freedom of conscience means that if a politician can no longer conscientiously support the policies of the party that put them on the list, they resign from the party and from parliament, provincial council or whatever and try again with the party they do support.

And it's the same in local government, except for the ward candidates.

I suggest that if you vote at all, don't vote for proportional representation candidates, but spoil your paper by writing "No crosstitutes" on it. Just vote for the ward candidates -- even if they do change parties, it will at least be the person that you elected.

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