The Northern Cape boasts an array of “platteland” areas which feel so far removed from reality, they are often unable to familiarise themselves with the concept of political tolerance, writes KIRSTEN ALLNUTT (SA Decides).
The small ANC-run town of Vosburg was visited by the Northern Cape Provincial Treasury: MEC of Finance John Block and Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas. It is clearly a rare occurrence for these government officials to shove their noses in the faces of the voting sheep.
Preparation involved street lights, buildings and fences around the town drowning in ANC posters. This was such a strenuous activity that government workers of EPWP (???) became involved by erecting the ANC posters instead of… I don’t know… doing their jobs. Unethical as it already is that government workers are doing the ANC’s dirty work, they were in no way shy to do so, erecting the posters in their EPWP overalls and smiling as I drove past to take photos.
EFF and DA supporters congregated together nearby the community hall where the workers were tirelessly outdoing themselves and where proceedings were scheduled to take place. However, there seemed to be some “confusion”. Was this a government event or an ANC rally? No one seemed to know, but by the looks of the town hall (now ambushed with ANC banners bearing the overwhelmingly cheesy smile of President Jacob Zuma) it was a government event, now turned into part of the ANC electioneering strategy.
When we approached minority party supporters we were met with frowns. They had been bullied away. As the media, we felt the need to investigate the validity of such accusations. Approaching the ANC cadres we were met with aggression and denial of the situation: “Are you an agent of the opposition? Who are you to question us?” shouted one ANC frontman.
“We are the media,” my colleague answered simply. “It’s our job to question you.”
It’s evident that intimidation is something the ANC can’t resist. It’s a common understanding among the community that if you are not wearing yellow shirts bearing Jacob Zuma’s face, you won’t get a food parcel (a stale pie and a no-name juice) at the end of the day, neither will you get your poor excuse of a house at the end of the elections. It’s dog-eat-dog. It’s ANC majority vote tactics.
The stench of desperation seeping out of the ANC, in what is said to be the most controversial election since 1994, is evident in their political intolerance and inescapable intimidation. You are “other”, you are a minority and you most likely won’t get free electricity post-elections if you do not advertise President Jacob Zuma on your chest come 7 May 2014.
The views expressed in this blog post are the author’s own and do not express the views of the South Africa Votes 2014 project or its editors.
Kirsten Allnutt is an amateur television reporter for ANN7’s SA Decides programme in the Northern Cape. She is a graduate from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Journalism & Media Studies specialising in TV