BY THABANI VUSA MPOFU
South Africa has just held Local elections in which over two dozen political parties and formations participated.
The ANC finished at the top of the list, garnering about 5,4 million votes which translates to 47,90% of the votes, a figure that is more than double its closest competitor. Yet we have been bombarded by a well orchestrated and unanimous chorus from the South African press, ( which is decidedly anti ANC) and the Western press which has managed the seemingly impossible feat of convincing the gullible that, the ANC in coming first, actually came last.
The ANC which has the most vote , actually did not win. Whatever one thinks of this distorted interpretation of the results, one has to marvel at the sheer audacity of the spin practitioners in creating fiction out of a factual event and making it stick.
A rudimentary analysis of the election results reveals that , not only did the ANC snatch the pole position, it harvested more votes than the next four parties put together. That the ANC managed to achieve this against a hostile press, working in unison to denigrate and discredit the Liberation movement is nothing short of the remarkable.There are reports that one TV channel, the eNCA even openly asked voters to vote for change.
Even the SABC, the public broadcaster adopts an aggressive tone against the ANC in a rather misguided quest to be seen as being neutral. The ANC is totally absent as a player in the print press environment and it is an understatement to say that this field is dominated by its traditional enemies from the apartheid era.
The hard truth is that there are no alternative and independent narratives to the anti ANC sentiment in both the print and electronic media landscape in South Africa where views that are biased against the ANC are regarded as neutral.
The spin by this hostile lot even reaches mind numbing levels when it seeks to portray Actionsa, e xenophobic outfit formed by an Herman Mashaba which garnered only 2% of the vote as the winners in the elections. The electronic media has granted this fringe Party acres of space, depicting it as a victorious anti corruption crusader that has boldly declined to cooperate with the ANC in any coalition talks.
Quite how it is considered admirable that a Party with 306 000 votes seeks to dictate terms to 5,4 million people is quite literally beyond comprehension. Apparently that’s all part of democracy. Warped logic I say.
Much has been made about the fact that the ANC has dipped below 50% for the first time since Independence. This fact has been elevated to such a position that it is the bedrock of the argument which says the ANC did not win the elections. This result is hardly a mouth gaping event given the fact the ANC has been in power for 27 years, operating in an environment of unmitigated and sustained hostility from the press.
This, coupled with the factor of the multiplicity of Parties in the Local elections renders the performance by the ANC decent at the very least. It certainly is not the major disaster that is touted by the press. In addition , the proportional representation system of the elections in SA is actually prone to produce coalitions. If South Africa was operating the , first past the post system that is used in the UK, the ANC would have won the vast majority of the constituencies under contest. Perhaps even winning two thirds the field.
Whichever way one considers things, there is no plausible argument to depict the ANC as having lost the elections. Yes, the ANC bled votes from the last elections but so has the DA.
The spin on steroids that depicts the ANC as losers is not a product of the press being merely naughty. This is an effort by the traditional enemies of the Liberation Movement who have never forgiven the ANC for confronting apartheid privilege. Stratcom did not die with apartheid. And Stratcom is not limited to the South African borders.
All Liberation Movements in the region are under seige. The press , because of its propaganda capacity, is the most lethal tool at the disposal of those who seek to destroy the ANC and othe Liberation parties in the region. Meanwhile, the spin continues unabated in its intoxicated form.