Democracy in Action in the New South Africa
This is how we practice local politics:
UDM councillor and provincial chairperson Isaac Mokgatla, who also sits on the parliamentary portfolio committee on housing, apparently organised residents to protest against disputes over the allocation of stands. The march turned violent after the protesters found the municipal offices in Refenkgotso empty and locked that morning. They proceeded straight to [ANC chief whip in the Metsimaholo municipality Ntai Morris] Mokoena’s house, where they first shot him and then hacked him to death.
The ANC supporters are of course a bit peeved about this, so they set about burning the homes of UDM supporters, and even going so far as to beat one woman and bundle her into the boot of a car and driving her to the police station, from whence she was subsequently released due to lack of evidence. But not before the mob had burned her house down. That would be the house the ANC government built for her. Apparently, the ANC giveth, and the ANC supporters taketh away.
Now, on one hand maybe it would be a good thing if politicians regularly faced potential mob justice as a result of poor decisions. It might result in them being a little more considerate of their actual constituents’ opinions. A government of the people, for the people, and under threat of death by the people. It has a nice ring to it.
On the other hand, mobs are a fickle thing. My rule of thumb for the group intelligence of a mob is to take the IQ of the dumbest member, and divide by the number of people in the mob. And not only do people in mobs lose their own sense of self, and their inate intelligence, but apparently they also arrive for political protest armed.