Voting against the ANC in next week’s general elections was the best way to support the party’s founding principles, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said on Wednesday.
“What is more important than [the ANC], is the ideas of the party. If the party forgets those ideas, we will stand against the party,” Kasrils said in Johannesburg. He and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge are leading the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote No! Campaign”.
The campaign is aimed at convincing struggle activists and others not to vote for the ANC, but rather to vote for a small political party – not the Democratic Alliance (DA) – or at least spoil their votes by writing “no” on the ballot paper.
They say this tactical voting would help deepen democracy through diminishing the ruling party’s majority.
Kasrils said ordinary people were suffering, while public funds were spent on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal and travel arrangements for the Gupta family.
‘Corruption and murder’
Under apartheid, struggle veterans never believed that a democratic government would shoot protesters, such as Andries Tatane in Ficksburg or the striking miners at Marikana in August 2012.
“We cannot stand idly by when we see these crimes of corruption and murder,” Kasrils said. The campaign was aimed at the unemployed, workers who had difficulty making ends meet, youth who wanted a better life, activists, taxpayers, and citizens who demanded clean, accountable governance. It was a reaction against corruption, the lavish lifestyles of the ruling elite, and perceived threats to constitutional democracy.
“Those who consider themselves ANC supporters but … wish to jolt the organisation to mend its ways should be regarded as saying ‘support the ANC by voting for the opposition’ – but not the DA.”
According to the campaign, about 12.7 million eligible voters failed to vote in the 2009 election. “This means the ANC in 2009 increased its majority and parliamentary seats to 66% (down from 63% in 1994), when in fact their share of all eligible votes decreased to 39% (down from 54% in 1994).”
Kasrils said he believed Chris Hani would support the “Vote No” campaign to support the ideals of the ANC. “There is no way Chris Hani … would be silent in South Africa today.
“We believe the ANC needs to be given a big shock. Opposing the ANC is an act of love. Instead of hiding the secrets … real love is to be able to be critical and say, ‘Put the house in order’,” Kasrils said. Responding to criticism of the campaign from within the ANC, he said these attacks did not deal with the substance of the campaign’s beliefs.
“They are defending the indefensible,” he said. – Sapa