My Take With Mbangwa Xaba

To marginalise a majority, you must disfranchise them. This must be done cleverly, with legitimacy or some kind of perceived consent – unlike the Apartheid system.

Elections work wonders for these kinds of things. Using popular vote and ‘democratic processes,’ South Africa’s thriving capitalism has cemented racist neo-liberalism in our society. Ours is a typical capitalist society that delivers dominance of the wealthy few, mostly whites, over the majority, who happen to be black and poor.

Apartheid apologists couldn’t be happier. Former president FW de Klerk died an exultant man. South Africa is ‘a nation of sheep owned by pigs and governed by wolves.’ What more could a bigot like him ask for?

The overwhelming majority of South Africans are spectators of their own fate. The 2021 elections are a classic example. We are a population estimated at 60 million, 42.6 million are eligible to vote but only 26.2 million people registered to vote. Yet a mere 8 million decided an election; and that’s legitimate!

“A large number of socio economic, political and institutional factors influences the decision to vote,” say political scientists. They point accusing fingers at issues such as “declining global average voter turnout,” the “fragility of an African voter participation, corruption and unfulfilled promises,” etc.


With the use of mass media, like sheep, we are shepherded to a pre-determined destination.  It is made as if we have a choice. The people who sell you alcohol with advertising that never shows anybody drunk, are the same people who tell you that you have an e-toll problem and therefore don’t vote! The people who pump images of men chased by beautiful women after using a certain cologne are the ones producing the information that sells you opinion polling and ‘expert’ views that are presented as facts.

Noam Chomsky says it better: “It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent. This is especially true where the media actively compete, periodically attack and expose corporate and governmental malfeasance, and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality in command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behaviour and performance.”

He says; “the elite domination of the media and marginalisation of dissidents that results from the operation of these filters occurs so naturally that media news people, frequently operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news ‘objectively` and on the basis of professional news values.”

This has been perfected for hundreds of years. The constraints are so powerful, and are built into the practice in such a fundamental way, that alternative bases of news choices are hardly imaginable.

The technique is being implemented in all western nations, but its ruthlessness is poignant in colonial and occupied countries like America, Canada, Australia and Palestine. The design of our governance is no different from any other African country. Like every former colony, our masters would never give up power that easily. They remain in charge through stooges cultivated among us. Their template is consistent everywhere. They create an elite few, give them a little piece of action to pacify them and let the rest of the population rot. Who cares?

In essence, our level of imperialist democracy has matured so well it mimics America. If you were to close your eyes and imagine how the American society was conceived, you can actually hear John Jay, the Governor of New York and the first Chief Justice of the United States shout: “Those who own the country ought to govern it!”

Using the wealthy and educated among the natives, capital has found ways to use the constitutional system to replace slavery in Africa. They argue: “To protect the minority of the opulent against the majority, power must be in the hands of the wealth of the nation.”

To tame the population is a constant mission to ensure it does not disturb this system. Uninform the majority ceaselessly to yield an irrational voter. As Chomsky observes: “Roughly, the bottom 70% of the population in low levels of income has no influence on the policy. They are disfranchised, so it doesn’t matter what they think.”

So, if you can buy yourself any idiot to run for president, you are home and dry. We may have such a president as early as 2024. South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the country’s Electoral Act is unconstitutional on the grounds that it doesn’t allow citizens to be elected to the national and provincial legislatures as independent candidates.

If the soul of a century-old liberation movement can be sold for a mere R1 billion, South Africa, with its dysfunctional state-owned entities, unending power crisis and fragmented political leadership should go for a song.

The growing number of independent candidates and their impressive performance in the recent local government election is surely a sign of things to come.  We are well on our way to having our own Donald Trump.

It’s time for a people centred, grassroots and mass-based organisations to champion the plight of the disfranchised majority. Clearly, our politicians are in it for their bellies.

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