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Career Politicians, Political Careers

Coen van Wyk

Posted on July 14, 2018 13:54

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Cape Town political leadership is fighting a protracted career war. Desperate water shortages limited residents to one shower a week. A housing crisis resulted in violent demonstrations. Gang warfare makes suburbs no-go areas for police.

Table Mountain dreams above a city where executives take the day off when surf’s up, where famous local wines smooth away all cares as the sun sets in the Atlantic, where revelers party till it rises out of the Indian Ocean. A haven for refugees from the harsh realities unemployment, dysfunctional schools and non-existing health services in the interior. Graceful colonial and Nationalist vistas of a Gateway to Africa are clogged by squatter camps filled with people from inland tribal and rural regions.

Cape Town. Getty

Water is precious in the Cape. Lack of Central Government and City planning, combined with climate change, resulted in a water crisis limiting residents to one shower a week. Housing plans, based on Apartheid bureaucrats’ belief that all ‘foreigners’ would leave soon, crashed under continued urbanization, and violent protests caused considerable damage.

But, the political leadership was locked in battle. Cape Town, lonely bastion of the Democratic Alliance, official Liberal-Democrat opposition in Parliament, appointed Helen Zille, renowned Anti-Apartheid journalist and agitatrix, as Mayor in 2006. A few years later, the DA won a majority in the province and Zille became Premier. The search for a Mayor produced Patricia de Lille, Anti-apartheid agitatrix, trade unionist, ex-member of the Africanist Pan African Congress. She, the DA believed, could deliver the votes of the colored and black electorate who found the DA ‘too white’.

But, seven years later the DA is locked in a struggle with de Lille. Accusations of running the Mayoral office in an ‘undemocratic manner’, suggestions of corruption, and a vote of no confidence did not unseat her. De Lille challenged disciplinary procedures in court, and at the time of writing is still hanging on to the Mayoral chain.

Mayor de Lille. Gallo/Network2424/Adrian de Kock

The Premier of the Northwest province, Supra Mahumapelo, able political operator, kingmaker and power broker of the ruling African National Congress, accused of vast corruption, had mismanaged his province to the extent that Central Government administrating had to step in and rescue bankrupt departments. Despite growing calls, Mahumapelo refused to budge, defying his own party’s Central Committee, until the National Executive forced him to resign, or, in his words, take early retirement.

Premier Mahumapelo. African News Agency

Nobody asked the rate-payers of Cape Town for their opinion. Nobody asked the residents of the North-West province how they felt about lack of services. Political careers, it seems, are hedged around with career plans, conditions of service and disciplinary regulations that does not include the interests of the voting public.

Brexit is said to be a product of politicians jockeying for career advancement after years in the political sphere, with little regard for people in real life.

Is the career politician a throwback to a monarchial system of rule, where the political class is distinct from the rest of us? Were the Mandarins in China better rulers? Is directly elected, responsible government really impossible? Are term limits for representatives unthinkable

Coen van Wyk

Posted on July 14, 2018 13:54

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Source: Reuters

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's main prosecutor said on Friday investigations into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's...

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