No country for young voters

David Bullard says the ANC's increasingly elderly political line-up is not one likely to enthuse the young



Although I cheerfully admit to being a capitalist I have never much liked Davos. It always seems to be full of rather preening, self styled “global shape shifters” who are all too happy to give the poor of the world a bit of sage advice before retiring to the Senior Figure’s Lounge for some liquid refreshment and the company of fellow shape shifters. Noticeable at Davos every year is the lack of poor people able to put their own case. This is hardly surprising of course because the poor are notoriously scruffy individuals and quite unable to even afford a round of drinks.

It was a bit different this year because there were some key party poopers. The heads of state of the US, the UK, France, India and China all decided to give it a miss this year. Which is a bit like going all the way across the world to catch the absolutely bloody final Rolling Stones world tour only to find that Sir Mick is sick in bed with a sore throat.

However, President Ramaphosa was there with a fairly hefty team of tax-payer sponsored hangers-on to spread the good word about the new dawn. On Twitter this prompted @rinmor to tweet:

“Oh dear….our lot at Davos have uncoupled from us and are floating in some parallel universe….talking effortlessly about how SA is on a new dawn pathway….remind me how many crooks in Gvt have been arrested”

This resonated enough to be retweeted 157 times and attract 392 likes. I doubt whether many of the well heeled at Davos would have been taken in by the President's blarney, particularly if they were following the Zondo commission or developments in Zimbabwe.

However, full marks to Cyril and the team for showing solidarity with the LGBTQIA community by wearing their rainbow scarves.

The non-shock of the week however was the revelation by what is now sneeringly referred to as the “main stream media” that young people in SA probably won’t register to vote and, if they have bothered to register, won’t leave their computer games to put an X next to their party of choice on the great day.

Various pundits on talk radio shows expressed shock and horror at this, the older ones pointing out that people had died in the dark days of apartheid for their right to vote. I doubt whether that would be a convincing argument to anybody born post 1999. All they see today is massive political corruption, a youth unemployment figure of over 50%, a society more racially divisive than at any time since 1994 and a collapsing state infrastructure. What, they wonder, would they be voting for? Presumably more of the same.

There is a compelling argument to suggest that if you don’t vote then you have no control over your own future and, therefore, no grounds for complaint for the next five years. However, my sympathies lie with the young non-voters. What they see in the ANC are the same, corrupt, unaccountable old faces they have seen over the past twenty years. Very little younger talent has been nurtured and brought to the forefront over the years and the few that have are either demonstrably dishonest or prefer to film themselves masturbating.

That there is no natural young talent rising through the ranks of the ANC is bad enough but when we look at the bunch of deadbeats wanting to hang on to power it’s hardly surprising that the yoof would rather up their score on Grand Theft Auto than go out and vote.

When most men of their age should be playing bowls, applying hemorrhoid cream and attending bingo afternoons at the local community centre we still have people who think they are fit to govern.

Take poor old Rob Davies for example. He’ll be 71 in May but that, of itself, shouldn’t disqualify him from continuing as Minister of Trade and Industry. What should disqualify him is the fact that he has been nothing short of disastrous in that role which is hardly surprising since he is a card carrying member of the South African Communist Party. The best way to destroy the exploitive capitalist system is from within and Rob has certainly not been a slouch when it comes to that.

Then there’s Nkozazana Dlamini-Zuma who might have been president by now had we not been saved by a Bosasa donation. She’s 74 and, in a normal life, would be sitting knitting blankets for underprivileged kids instead of taking up space on the electoral role. Bearing in mind her less than impressive CV what possible prosperity could she bring to a future South Africa?

The argument that older politicians bring a stabilising element of wisdom and experience to government might have some credibility if the majority of our politicians exhibited any signs of wisdom. As far as experience is concerned, the only experience most of them seem to have had is feathering their own nests at the expense of the long suffering citizens of South Africa. And that’s reason enough to up your score on Grand Theft Auto.

Follow David Bullard on Twitter @lunchout2