A New Look at Democracy

South African coat of arms

Parliament has been closed and the offices are empty as members of parliament (MPs) are going far and near campaigning for votes. This comes during a trying time in our country’s 25-year-old democracy.

Many feel disappointed by the governing party because they seemingly have let down the people continuously. This led to the rise of many political parties, such as AGANG, COPE, EFF, BLF, just to mention a few. All these parties also promise to serve the people and only the people.

Hold on a minute, democracy is defined as government for the people and by the people. This means that the people are the government … does this mean that the people failed themselves? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because the people have and will always have the responsibility of putting representatives in power, however, this does not mean that the people must then solely depend on those representatives to perform. A system of accountability must be put in place where representatives are brought to book by the people. A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is appointed by the board of directors, he/she runs the ‘company’ on behalf of the board. He/she may run the company to the ground or the sky, but at the end of the financial year, he/she must come to the board and account on the current position of the company.

This is not so in parliament, we have power-hungry individuals holding power-driven individuals accountable, there is no genuine concern for the people.

No, because trust and confidence are placed in the representatives by the people. The people have faith that the one they put in power will fulfil their promises and serve the people. The board of directors have faith that the appointed CEO will deliver on all his/her promises and objectives. The failure or success of the ‘business’ lies on the shoulders of the CEO.

Shareholders stand to lose the most when a business goes down, equally so, shareholders stand to gain the most when a business performs well. Ultimately, they bear the full weight of the business. The same can be said for the people of South Africa.

IEC voting box

The people can no longer afford to vote based on their emotions. They need to start seeing South Africa as a business and make informed business decisions as they place their much desired “X” next to the party of their choice. Gone are the days where voting would be done based on skin colour and past reference, today’s voting decision should be made based on the question of, “WHOSE MANIFESTO IS APPLICABLE?”

Perhaps South Africa will benefit from shared power in parliament since the whole majority party concept has failed. No one party should hold more that 50% voting rights in parliament, this will guarantee honest and transparent leadership.

Let the 8 May 2019 be the day that South Africans take back the country from its captures.