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From the “On the Contrary” column – Going for a prosperous alternative

“YES! Yes! Yes!” gasped Luke the Dude as the wind blew him into the Local Pub and Grill. It was one of those gusty late-winter days when trees get blown over and block our Main Street. Inside it was warm and relaxed as the convivial conversationalists congregated to ponder the state of our town and the world.

Having received his pint from the Governor, Luke looked around to locate The Prof. “A ha!” he addressed the learned one, “Prof, what do you make of this Multi-Party Charter for SA and their plan to govern SA after next year’s elections?”

“Well,” puffed The Prof under the No Smoking sign, “at first glance their ideas are admirable, of course, if not somewhat heroic. But I suggest you ask young Steven here; he takes a keen interest in politicians – seeing that statesmanship is such a scarce commodity.” 

“I do indeed, my learned friend,” responded Stevie the Poet, who practices law in his spare time. “The Charter developed from a realization by the DA leadership that an opportunity to replace the ANC – in the country as well as a number of provinces – is presenting itself for the first time since 1994. Polls are showing ANC support trending lower and then lower again.

“The Charter parties ‘recognise’ that the ANC will slide below 50% of the vote next year. Of course that remains to be seen, but given the mere possibility, it is commendable that they are rolling up their sleeves and going for it.”

“Wait a minute,” interrupted Big Ben, “What will they do better than what the ANC is already doing? Look at us here, happily drinking beer without a care in the world. The ANC makes that possible!”

“Useless!” roared Jon the Joker. “The Breweries make that possible! The ANC is a party of promising and pretending. Blackouts will be gone in six months, how long ago was that? And how many times? The rest of our infrastructure – water, sewage, roads, harbours, hospitals, schools, the lot, everybody can see for themselves.”

“Sorry Ben,” comforted Miss Lily, “But you do sound like those Trump suckers in America: refusing to believe or even see the facts, while fighting to defend the lies. No offence intended.” 

“The underlying infection in our body politic,” diagnosed Bill the Beard, “at the root of it all, is corruption and its sibling, theft. Current Pretoria mayor Cilliers Brink has the herculean task of rebuilding a city sacked by the ANC and partners – while still fighting a running battle against the sackers, who want the city back. He summed it up thus: ‘They don’t want to run the city; they want to get their hands on the keys to the safe.’ His opinion, based on his first-hand experience.”

“All good and well, Boyo,” wondered Colin the Golfer, “but say this new coalition gets to form a government next year, what are they going to do for business, eh?”

“For one,” resumed Stevie, “rebuild our infrastructure – to enable you to do your business profitably. The first priority listed by The Multi-Party Charter is ‘growing the economy and creating jobs’.  A growing economy requires a thriving business sector. Ditto most of their eight priorities, such as restoring law and order and, as a governing principle, an open-market economy.

“As for me, having read their charter, I wish them well.” 

And so said all of us, with Big Ben abstaining.


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