Monday, September 05, 2005

'Democracy' in South Africa

I have for long now believed that "democracy" is simply a buzzword in South Africa. It has NO meaning! For those in the rest of the world, your support, especially financial support and boycotts, have been wasted on a democracy that is utterly meaningless.
Let me explain.
Every year, round about this time of the year, there is what is called the "floor-crossing." This floor crossing is sanctioned by our laws. "What in the world is a 'floor-crossing'?" you may ask. Before I tell you what that means, let me tell you how democracy works in South Africa.
When it comes to voting in South Africa, we have no way to simply vote for a president. We vote for a political party. That means that there could be a number of parties. We vote for the party we like most, and that party's leader will then become president. So, let us say there are 100 seats available in government. Party A gets 60% of the vote, party B gets 25% of the vote and finally party C gets 15% of the vote. That means party A will get 60 seats, party B will get 25 seats and so on. Therefore, the people are represented according to which party they voted for. 25% of the people voted for party B and so they ended up with a 25% representation in parliament.
Now, let's move onto "floor-crossing."
Right about now this "floor-crossing" is happening. During the year spanning from round about August to August, certain members of party C might become disgruntled with their party. Remember, these are parliamentary seat-warming members from party C. These members, who are representative of 15% of the people who voted for them, decide to "cross the floor" and join party A. Let's say there are 10 of these party C members "crossing the floor." What happens now is that the seats occupied by these 10 members do not remain behind with party C, they actually go with these members to party A. This means that party A will now have 70 seats in parliament and party C will only have 5. In essence, party A now has more representation in parliament than the amount of people that voted for them. Remember, South Africa has a simple "democracy" of one man one vote! It also means that party C no longer represents the 15% of people that voted for them.
This is what I mean that democracy is meaningless in South Africa. We did not vote for those 10 "floor-crossers" (sounds much like "cross-dressers" doesn't it?), but rather for party C. In my mind, when a member of parliament wants to "cross the floor" he must immediately lose his seat in parliament and another person from the crosser's previous party must take his seat in parliament! This only will be just!
While "floor-crossing" is part of the South African parliamentary system, we can talk about democracy as much as we want, it will remain meaningless.
You can push a wheelbarrow in and out of a garage as much as you like, it will not become a car.
We can talk about democracy as much as we want in South Africa, and push it down the throats of the gullible as much as we want, it will not make it so!
While this continues, I am sure that the constitutional rights of South Africans are being violated!
I suppose the South African constitution is the most liberal in the world. It allows politicians to do just what THEY like!
I suppose in South Africa it is REX LEX and not LEX REX!!
Just thinking...

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