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29 May 2011 at 21:22 - Posted by Anonymous

The idiocracy's indecision is final, finish and klaar


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Marvin Meintjies is Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times

Marvin Meintjies: Watching Gwede Mantashe on the Justice Factor on e.tv brought to mind this quote from dead poet Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." Perfect description of the glorious movement/ defenders of the national democratic revolution/ keepers of the flame of Mandela's legacy.

You see, Mantashe was getting really angry as Auntie Helen stayed, as they say in the US, "on message", with the DA boldly claiming to be the party that inherited Mandela's legacy - and the only one willing to fight to build on it.

Understandably, this did not go down well with Malume Mantashe.

But maybe later that night, as he poured himself a finger or two of his favourite tipple, Mantashe may have reflected that the ANC has allowed itself to be painted as the party that abandoned Mandela's principles.

That, for all his bluster, the DA had found that taking Madiba's legacy from the ANC had been as easy as registering yourself at Cipro as a new director of First Rand. It may not be true, but if you take advantage of the weak and inefficient systems in place, you can get away with it.

The DA's rebranding exercise has met with some success, more so because the ANC, the Coca-Cola of SA politics, has been a little lax with its image.

The ANC seems to be in two minds with regards to the legacy of Mandela: "Do we risk alienating our Africanist base to win back the lost votes of those who believe in a non-racial rainbow nation, and how do we muzzle the pesky press with a new info bill and still claim to be the party for a free and open society?"

The party's actions contradict its stated ethos.

For, while Mantashe tried to reclaim the Mandela legacy and lashed Zille for daring to claim it, the party has failed to publicly rebuke the likes of Jimmy Manyi and Julius Malema over their horribly racist comments. Adding fuel to the fire are the incendiary comments of Port Elizabeth's Nceba Faku, the ANC provincial chairman who last week said blacks who voted for "white" parties should be driven into the sea, and called for supporters to burn our sister paper, The Herald.

Since Malema accused all whites of being criminals, and Manyi made his infamous comments about an "oversupply" of coloureds in the Western Cape, and his sick joke that Indians were bargaining their way to the top, neither the government nor the ANC has taken disciplinary steps or publicly rebuked them.

But the ANC is in a quandary, you see. Militant Manyi - and Juju, more so - are immensely popular with the party's base. Manyi is a useful tool, barking at the press like a junkyard dog.

And Juju really does get out the vote.

As Hogarth has pointed out, the Kiddie Amin act seems to be a winning formula for the youth leader.

And democracy, at its core, is a numbers game. The majority wins, finish and klaar . Welcome to idiocracy.

Okay, maybe Juju's popularity with "tea girls" has dropped a little since he spurned the opportunity to debate DA spokesman Lindiwe Mazibuko. saying: "She's a nobody, she's a tea girl of the madam. I'm not debating with the service of the madam." I get the dig at Mazibuko, but what's he got against tea ladies; surely their votes count?

But he still gets bigger applause at rallies than President Jacob Zuma (that must sting just a little bit, hey?).

These eejits cut against the grain of Mandela's project.

And that's hurting the ANC's image with the voters they lost in major metros this election. It's not that those voters have become racists (Jackson Mthembu, I'm looking at you). It's not that those voters suddenly said they'd rather be governed by the "madam" than "the blacks". It's not that the amorphous "media" are enemies of the state and party (Mantashe, Blade Nzimande and Siyabonga Cwele, I'm looking at you).

It's simply that those voters don't like the message they are hearing from the ANC, which of late has been mostly race-based politics and a push to close the door on our open society. It does not gel with the vision Mandela articulated so well and so clearly. The annual Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey has just been unveiled - see Business Times - and it shows that BlackBerry has toppled Coca-Cola in the overall coolest brand category for generation Y. Coca-Cola had been sitting pretty at the top for the past three years! The reason? Well, it's all about the messaging. Can someone BBM that to Mantashe and co?

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