I NOTE with interest that India has recently agreed to add "none of the above" to the voters' choice options in that country's elections. What a development, one that if introduced here could be the key to unlocking this country from the grip of its greatest pestilence: unqualified cadre politicians who have no business in government, municipal, national or even on a PTA (they'd feel more at home in a demolition yard, I'm sure).
The "none of the above" option would add substance to the concept of real say in government by its citizens. The omission of this choice in our own voters' options, in retrospect, is definitely one of the factors resulting in this country's descent into disrepair and disrepute.
(We're now one of the world's top criminal refuges as well.)
I don't want to pontificate on the details of this additional option, but let's say a majority vote for "none of the above" would mean the disbanding of the metropole/parliament, interim management by the constitutional court, the initiation of a general referendum, and the forced formation of a metropole or government based on the people's choices, instead of the coerced – and consequently phony – situation we currently have, where our resistance at the polls is either a spoilt vote or non-attendance. Simply put, the omission of this option opens voting to manipulation, something our leaders are past masters at.
A manipulated vote is undemocratic and should be rectified immediately in the interests of our country, the development of a truly politicised citizenry and concretising the true meaning of "for the people, by the people, of the people".
To continue in the current manner is extremely hazardous for one other reason. The "common enemy" dynamic that has governed voter unity in this country for a century is disintegrating fast.
This disintegration of unity is causing a politically fractured country, evidenced both by the emergence of new, very relevant political groupings and rumbling of discontent within the tripartite alliance on the one hand, and on the other, a growing intellectual interest in pursuit of an unbundling option. Insofar as the unbundling goes, there are precedents.
Bad governance cannot continue ad infinitum. Shake the table long or hard enough and the house of cards will collapse. A genuine democracy isn't constructed of such flimsy material and will survive the challenges of this century.
Stanley Esterhuizen, Port Elizabeth