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.


8 Responses to “Democracy in Action in the New South Africa”

  1. residentRsole Says:

    …. apparently they also arrive for political protests armed.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Thirteen years after 1994, I watch these protests on the evening news and wonder if I am being shown archive footage from the “good ol’ days”: Police using live rounds and beating “peaceful” protesters, burning tires in the streets, razor wire barricades, Kaspirs (painted white instead of yellow), protesters armed with traditional weapons and the occasional necklacing (thanks Winnie). For a certain sector of our population, there’s really no such thing as a peaceful protest. I might be wrong but to me, it’s not that much different from other events such as Sharpeville 1960, Soweto 1976, Bisho 1992 or Khutsong 2007. It’s a bit of a taboo subject so I guess that some people might want to call me a “racist”, “ignoramous”, “bigot”, etc for expressing this opinion. I just shrug my shoulders and say “Africa wins again”.

  2. Hate to admit it but…had the exact same feeling.

  3. Mobs are always measures of “what can I do” versus “how likely am I to be caught”. And in a place where you can almost get alway with murder, the added padding of the mob means funination.

    Also, if you’ve seen what mobs do in Africa, wouldn’t you go armed?

  4. residentRsole Says:

    Mobs are always measures of “what can I do” versus “how likely am I to be caught”.

    Sounds just like those mobs of horny college students at Fort Lauderdale’s Spring Break !

  5. andy took the words right out of my … er … keyboard. those mobs can be dangerous, i wouldn’t go near one unarmed

  6. You know, this didn’t even make the news in Australia.

  7. i’m not surprised. It’s not good news to point out that SA today is as full of civil rights violations, riots and murder as it was 20 years ago. Nobody wants to hear that sort of thing – it’s not encouraging. It’s much nicer to think of us as a successful democracy, a shining diamond in Africa’s crown blah blah blah.

    More and more i’m coming to realise that the usual official news channels like papers and tv are not where we want to go to find out what’s going on in the world.

  8. residentRsole Says:

    moonflake: Perhaps we should call it the “New South Africa Delusion”. Yesterday was Mandela’s birthday. I, for one, did not wish him well. In fact, I think that he is a scumbag.

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