The buffalo and the wild dogs
We are often asked in our briefings who will emerge to bring down the old buffalo that is the ANC, together with its little calf, the EFF. The elections just past have shown us where the answer might lie.
It is not a single mighty lion that will bring about the demise of the buffalo and its calf. It is a whole pack of wild dogs, who have smelled the buffaloes’ weakness and fear and who are on their trail.
The wild dogs include the DA, Action SA, the Freedom Front Plus, the ACDP, the IFP and other smaller parties. All of them are now looking ahead to 2024 and assessing their chances of making the kill.
The wild dog parties have more in common than they realise. This is what will allow them to hunt as a pack. On a range of issues, they share centre-right to liberal values. For example:
- They are fed up with corruption and demand a reckoning with the corrupt.
- They realise that the SOEs are failing across the board and that the private sector is needed to deliver the services the parastatals cannot.
- They are non-racial in outlook and know that the ANC’s race-based policies and cadre deployment are killing the public service and the economy, while also inflaming racial tensions.
- They see that the state is bloated and ineffective and needs to be smaller and more effective.
- They understand that investment summits cannot attract much-needed investment while investors are confronted with the threat of expropriation and an administration that is hostile to investment. Property rights have to be secure for investment to occur.
- They are dismayed at the alignment of the government with dictatorships such as Cuba, Venezuela and China. They wish for a return to a foreign policy aligned with liberal democratic states.
- They know that poverty cannot be resolved through redistribution. Prosperity and jobs can only be generated through free markets and a growing economy.
- They are empathetic to the suffering of poor South Africans and are genuinely motivated by the desire to alleviate it sustainably, by giving every South African the chance to build prosperity for themselves, their families and their communities.
- They know that ordinary South Africans are motivated by centrist values such as caring for their families, hard work, honesty and decency. They have little patience for the radical left-wing ideologies of disconnected elites who dream of abolishing the nuclear family, dividing society into victims and oppressors, and who consider honest work to be undignified and distasteful.
- They understand that what stands in the way of South Africa’s success is the ANC and the EFF, along with their dinosaur ideologies, and that they have to be removed from power for the country to advance.
Even though the wild dog parties don’t agree on everything, they do agree on many things. Over the next three years, they will have to be reminded of what they have in common, and especially of the shared objective they are pursuing. Along the way they might snap and nip at each other, which is in the nature of wild dogs – but that is not something that should concern the voters, and it shouldn’t distract the parties from the ultimate purpose of their hunt.
Once they catch the buffalo, the wild dog parties will have to form a government. The principles and policies of that government will be determined by the degree of clarity they can achieve on the shared ideas that drive them – and this in turn depends on the ideas they get exposed to in the traditional and online media over the next three years.
Anyone invested in the success of these parties should therefore now consider committing resources to the platforms and organisations most prominently engaged in the battle of ideas.
The 2021 local government elections have cast a spotlight on the weakness of the ANC and EFF and put their defeat in 2024 firmly on the map. The agent of that defeat will be the diverse collection of parties that offer a compelling alternative vision to the establishment views of the ANC and its offshoot.
It is a vision that is likely to resonate with many moderate and centrist voters, and which will serve as a nucleus around which a new united democratic front can crystallise.
This is the political actor that will embark on a grand democratic struggle to liberate South Africa from its erstwhile liberators.
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