Many South Africans are familiar with the folktale by the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
Here is a short excerpt from the tale to create some context:
Two swindlers arrived in the capital city of an emperor who squandered all his money on lavish clothes, at the expense of state affairs and his subjects.
They introduced themselves as weavers and offered to weave clothes for the emperor out of magnificent fabric, which would be invisible to those who are fools or incompetent.
The emperor wasted no time in hiring them and, thrilled, they set up two looms and pretended to start weaving.
A series of officials and the emperor himself visited their workshop to see how they were getting on.
Everyone could see that there was no fabric on the looms, but pretended otherwise so as not to appear foolish.
Then, finally, the weavers announced that the emperor’s new outfit was ready. They dressed the emperor with great fanfare, and off went the emperor to show off his new clothes to the entire city.
Residents uncomfortably went along with the illusion so as not to appear foolish or rude, until a young child exclaimed that the emperor is nude. And then everyone realised that they had been deceived.
Does this folktale not perfectly encapsulate the reality we face every day here at the southern tip of Africa?
In our tale, the emperor is the ANC which promotes only its own, its cadres’ and suspect friends’ interests at the expense of the people of South Africa.
Once successful public enterprises, such as the SAA, the Post Office, Denel and Transnet, have been sucked dry, and taxpayers’ hard-earned money is squandered and looted without the slightest pang of guilt.
It is the ANC’s mismanagement and corruption that drove Eskom to its knees, causing South Africans to sit without power for up to 12 hours per day, and investors to leave the country and spend their money elsewhere.
Apartheid is the invisible set of clothes woven by the ANC’s election apparatchik, which tells every living soul that Apartheid is the real reason why South Africa is decaying in every respect, and that those who cannot see it are fools.
It is for this reason that the officials/ministers who do not agree with this tactic keep it to themselves.
Meanwhile, the ANC takes to the streets with its Apartheid outfit and expects South Africans not to notice that after being in power for 30 years it is prancing around politically nude.
That is what lies ahead for us in the run-up to next year’s elections.
After 30 years, the ANC has failed to meaningfully improve the lives of most of its supporters. Its failed and trite ideological policies, such as Affirmative Action, Black Economic Empowerment and cadre deployment, benefited only a select few, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.
And now Apartheid is used as the narrative to explain why things in the country are going wrong. Apartheid is to blame for the 77, mostly illegal, immigrants who burnt to death in a captured building in Johannesburg.
And according to the new and incompetent Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, Apartheid is also to blame for the railway network falling apart.
Ramaphosa singled out Apartheid as the main reason why children have poor reading skills, as it is apparently still casting a dark shadow all over South Africa.
The ANC is nude and it is time for, not only political parties like the FF Plus, but for the entire country to notice it and shout it from the rooftops.
Most young people, regardless of their skin colour, know nothing about Apartheid and are surely not interested in it.
Using Apartheid as a means to try and prevent a possible coalition government, by insinuating that such a government wants to take the country back to Apartheid, proves that the ANC is morally bankrupt and has nothing to show after 30 years in power.
So, it is time for every responsible citizen of this country to stand up and declare: “The emperor is nude!”
The time to stand apathetically on the sideline and say, “It doesn’t help to vote”, or “I don’t want to vote because then I support the new dispensation” is over.
Every citizen who may vote should ensure that they are registered to vote, and then show up in their masses on voting day to overthrow the ANC and replace it with a responsible coalition government that puts the interests of all its citizens first.
The road to recovery will not be easy and there may come times when we wonder whether it is all worth it. Tearing down will always be much easier than building back up. But we have to make that sacrifice for the sake of our children and their children.
Most South Africans do not have the option that residents of other failed African countries do, they cannot simply cross the border in search of a better life and greener grass.
We are going to have to stand together like never before to get rid of the ANC.
South Africa deserves better than the pothole-riddled road that the ANC laid out before us, and will continue to lay out if it remains in power for another five years.
Each of us should say to those around us, “I can vote, can you?”