I’m not one to mince words. I’m real South African, i’m from a land where spades are spades, ducks are ducks and politicians are, far too often, self-serving sell-outs.
I’m standing in Plein Street in Cape Town. I’m about to be late for my meeting in Parliament because it got moved to 5 hours earlier and there was no way i could tell the pilot to fly faster.
Tomorrow, in the building opposite me, the State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be delivered by South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma. This street will be made loud by protestors. I may hope not but there may be violence. But none of that feels real to me because it isn’t something i can affect. All that i can do, today, is try make a difference for my home town of Knysna where i’ve fought against (mostly DA) corruption for almost 5 years.
I’m here to present my allegations of corruption and maladministration to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings. I’m asking for an investigation, outside intervention.
Being a white man pointing out the DA’s wrongdoings wasn’t a popular position to adopt in a conservative small town in a Western Cape controlled by the DA in a country still divided.
The future is scary. People are earning less, unemployment has grown, drugs and crime are ever-present, and racial tension is the tensest since 1994 when South African’s traded a bloodbath for a Rainbow Nation that became the lie we’re living today. I think that some rebelled against me discrediting the DA because that was akin to removing the last hope they had in a positive future.
But, as the years passed by, the local DA-Can-Do-No-Wrong brigade got quieter and quieter as they witnessed local government become more arrogant from behind closed doors as they seemingly plotted a town of fear. Those who still insult me online and behind my back tend to be the politicians themselves and those desperate to be in their privileged, cliques.
Of course, there will always be racists who will never understand that there’s right and wrong, not DA and ANC or black and white. That’s on both sides. Politics is fill of it. This year’s elections are been fought over it, trying to murder important topics such as unemployment, corruption, failing infrastructure and an incredibly weak rand. Again, elections will become about pointing fingers and manipulating the bias of voters.
Although I now have supporters and many share my questions, life got harder for me as the DA blocked communication with me and, instead of talking and proving their point, assaulted me with civil, harassment and crimen injuria actions, I believe intended to shut me up. I tried to encourage people to stand up and speak out but they saw what happened to me and got scared, particularly over the past year. The exception would be when white Knysna got mad at the DA for trying to legalise public drinking in the holidays. Then, the cracks in the DA were plain to see then.
Nevertheless, this morning, there were well-wishers on my Facebook page. They strengthened my morning with a smile.
Two days ago, a well-respected, white pensioner (normally the perfect DA supporter) told me that Knysna was better under the ANC. She has previously complained about the ANC nationally, particularly unhappy with President Jacob Zuma i.e. she’s isn’t an ANC supporter. She’s not alone in her opinion about the DA.
Why would something unsaid by white people elsewhere in South Africa be said here? That’s just how bad the DA is in Knysna. We got the rotten apples at the bottom of the barrel.
Likewise, my feelings towards the DA have nothing to do with the ANC or any other party. I refuse to live in that counter-productive world where South Africans choose sides like mindless toys. Reality is that the DA rule my town and province, seemingly not caring about us, seemingly more interested in power and representing big business and themselves.
I’ve discovered that the DA is anything but the liberal party they pretend to be. My disgust may have swelled on the shores of the Garden Route but crashes in Cape Town where the DA’s top leadership plays with our lives, choosing politics and power over us, the people they were supposed to serve.
I’m not one to mince words. I’m real South African, I’m from a land where spades are spades, ducks are ducks and politicians are, far too often, self-serving sell-outs.
I don’t apply that description to these people (cause I’d only get sued again) but please note my Damn you to MEC Alan Winde and my Damn you to MEC Anton Bredell. And, most of all, damn you, Premier Helen Zille. Damn you all for the damage you’ve allowed to our town and damn you, most of all, for representing a political party of fake hope and fake ideology.
Damn me for voting for you (yes, shamefully, I admit it).
Inside, I’m begging for today to be the beginning of the end of the struggle but experience has made me jaded – I’ve learned not to have expectations, just to do the best I can.
Consequently, I sweep aside conflicting thoughts and focus on the task at hand as I enter Parliament’s iconic Marks Building which has long housed South Africa’s opposition parties. Currently, if the internet tells the truth, it’s home to the Parliamentary leaders of the Democratic Alliance leader, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and more.
We’re on the third floor, in Committee Room M314. To get there, I pass DA after DA office, the irony well kicked into me. I arrive at M314 where they’ve already begun, activist Susan Campbell’s voice reaching my ears before i can identify anyone else.
Yesterday, in the same room, the Portfolio Committee on Police briefed on foreign training for the ‘professionalising’ of the SAPS. Now it’s our turn.
I ignore the only other person I know, DA Eastern Manager Jaco Londt whom I consider to work for the DA only, not for me, the public. I nod silently to a room full of strangers as I take my seat next to a bottle of still water and a microphone begging to be used. I’m hoping that, for some here, politics isn’t a job but a service.
I’ll tell you more another day. Let the newspapers speak for now. Let the chaos of SONA pass us first…
Read The Time’s ‘Parliamentary Committee to Probe Complaint Against Knysna Municipality’. It was also posted in Business Day. I expect the Cape Times to follow soon.