The politics of control

- | a week ago

When considering the abundance of choices represented on our ballot paper, it is often said that we have a healthy democracy. Our ruling party and its legacy is increasingly more contested and opposition parties have displayed vehement resistance to its dominance and what has manifested as arrogance over the years.

Although robust debate and contestation of power is healthy in any democratic society, we have seen something shift over the past 25 years of ANC rule. Not only do opposition political parties make it a point of keeping the ANC in line, they tend to find purpose in not critiquing the ruling party but disgracing it.  Opposition in SA has become a game of spite and petty bickering, rather than the offering of alternative solutions.

  In this way the ANC, ironically, creates and controls opposition politics. A live television debate between youth leaders of the ANC, DA and EFF was recently broadcast. The host gave each representative the opportunity to put forward their solutions for the issues they have identified as urgent.

No sooner had the debate started than the EFF began arguing its solutions on the basis of the failures of the ANC and DA. Time ran out and viewers were left with little to ponder on besides the venom political parties spit at each other. The ANC in all its failings remains firmly in control of political debate because opposition arguments are based almost solely on characterising and defining the ANC.

It remains the source and the outcome of politics, which may explain some of its arrogance towards critique.

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