Proliferation of political parties need not be scoffed at 

Mosibudi Mangena 

As we enter the 2024 year of national and provincial elections, there are some in our midst who have decried the mushrooming of political parties vowing to take part in the elections. Others have pointed to the ridiculousness of the possibility of a ballot paper that might be as long as your arm. 

Many of us though, would rather have the eagerness by many to take part in democratic elections than more of us turning our backs  on the ballot box. 

With almost everything in the country going south, there is indeed a temptation on the part of some to resort to undemocratic methods to change the political set-up in the country. Indeed, some of us have heard suggestions to the effect that this country needs a revolution to put things right.  

There were even notions expressed that we need a benevolent dictatorship for a while to cure lawlessness and poor governance.   

Wars are easy to start, but incredibly difficult to stop. You can never tell how things will turn out once a war has started. Just look at what happened in Somalia and Libya, and what those countries have become.  

Moreover, war is painful. Those of us who have taken part in it can still remember the anguish of losing gallant patriots during the conflict. We should not casually and easily think and talk of war or revolution. So, better a thousand parties than disorder and mayhem. 

 Presently, there is an open political environment for us to mobilise and persuade one another to change whatever needs to be changed to build a better future for our children and grandchildren. 

It is worth reminding ourselves that this country belongs to us as citizens. It does not belong to politicians, political parties, or leaders. At election time we choose leaders and political parties to manage the affairs of the state on our behalf. At election time, the citizens are the bosses who hire new people to work for them for the following five years. 

We should strive to eradicate abject poverty in South Africa which has seen 19-million of our citizens on grants, an eloquent demonstration of the inability of the country to grow the economy that would enable citizens to provide for themselves and their families. It is thoroughly humiliating. It is particularly disheartening to see our healthy young people queueing for the R350 Covid-19 grants that cost the fiscus R30-billion. 

The year started well, with South Africa presenting a formidable and persuasive case against Israel’s genocidal war against the colonised Palestinians at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. We can all stand tall for choosing to stand on the side of justice, morality and humanity.  

The performance at the ICJ is a demonstration of the expertise that resides in our country and its people, not only in legal matters, but also in administration, management, IT, insurance, banking, construction, engineering and other spheres of our lives. 

We need to harness this expertise and knowledge to provide better education to our children; manage the NSFAS better for the benefit of our students; run the ailing health sector better; eradicate crime that is ravaging our society everywhere; and manage immigration and migration in an effective way that will not only stop us being the laughing stock of the region, but will also stop the strife between citizens and  

We can build a better South Africa if we put our minds and energies to it. We should embrace, celebrate and harness knowledge and merit, at the same time as we eschew mediocrity, corruption, cronyism and nepotism. 

  • Mangena is former president of Azapo and former cabinet minister.

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