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Congress of the People is in the best position to judge what democracy was in 1994 and what it has diminished into under ANC autocracy. In 1994 we were active as the makers of democracy inside the movement. In 2008 we realised that things were going to go seriously wrong. We warned in writing that the ANC was taking a wrong turn. Nothing happened. Since then, as we correctly predicted, What a wrong turn it has been.

What South Africa has today is democratic autocracy. The democratic portion is limited only to voting in a cycle of five years. After the voting is done, the party bosses exert autocratic rule over both party as well as country. Democracy has thus continued to wither alarmingly in the process.

Sentimentalists cling to what was. In the process they fail to see what is. Consequently the situation in both politics as well as economics has worsened in our country.

Barney Mthombothi writes in his column in the Sunday Times that the government is now operating “in something akin to a one-party state but with all the trappings and legitimacy of a democratic state”. He adds that, “despite our democratic pretensions, an unaccountable oligarchy wields untrammelled power”. He is right. Everyone, except self-serving politicians should be able to see that.

We in the Congress of the People can clearly see the difference between what was and what is. What we upheld in 1994 inside the ANC, is no longer what the ruling party is practising today. If we had not divorced in 2008, we too would have been a part of the great betrayal that is now occurring.

Barney Mthombothi recognises that “a struggle to wrest democracy from the leash of party bosses” has begun. We hope it will intensify very rapidly. It is in our collective interest as well as that of our children that we wrest democracy from the leash of party bosses. We don’t want to see the ruling party passing a gold plated copper coin as authentic gold ‘sovereign’. South Africans deserve the real thing, not the fake that is being given.

Congress of the People urges South Africans to use the forthcoming elections to wrest democracy back from the oligarchic autocracy. In our view, wards should form powerful political blocs to serve as a counterpoise to the oligarchic autocracy that is being increasingly imposed on us. Citizens must see that it is vitally important for them to remain electorally and organisationally strong. This they can do through the creation of voting blocs to keep government at every level ethical, honest, responsive, constitutional, democratic, effective, innovative, transparent and accountable.

Presently Zuma will arouse his supporters with “umshini wami” even though he knows it is not in the spirit of his undertaking to the IEC to play by the rules and not to invoke violence in any way during this election period. Furthermore, people should know that once his party has the votes, he will pull out his machine gun to shoot down democratic processes and institutions. Voters must seek to guarantee their future, not lose it.

Whoever votes, must never vote for sham democracy and oligarchic autocracy. Voters must vote for the guarantee of constitutional democracy. COPE guarantees constitutional democracy.

Issued by COPE

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