Letter: Why I won’t vote for politicians

Local government elections

Dear all politicians,

I’m not a politician, I don’t have political leanings, I don’t support any political party, I hate politics and I hate politicians. I read your manifestos for these past elections, and they are complete rubbish, a waste of my time (and everybody else who’s been lied to since the ‘94 elections) – same old promises, same old rhetoric, same old emotional blackmail, same old everything, but different faces and different players.

I’m talking about all the parties here. Your manifestos alienate a certain group of South Africans.

What group? The engine, the group that makes South Africa what it is, the group that funds everything in this country, the so-called middle class. The group of South Africans that is ignored by everyone in the political arena, those individuals you think are too rich to benefit from anything the state offers.

Those individuals who diligently pay their taxes to subsidise almost everyone and everything in this country, but are getting nothing in return. As long as you ignore the voices of those individuals you will not get their vote.

What is the middle class getting from the state? Nothing. We cannot benefit from RDP houses because are told we earn too much. Our children don’t qualify for the child support grant, because their parent(s) are gainfully employed.

You have no idea how we struggle to make ends meet each and every month. Our children’s application won’t be considered when they apply for financial assistance at varsity, because their father is salaried. We are literally drowning in debt and you still think we earn too much, we are privileged and we don’t deserve any of what other South Africans are getting?

Well as long as that’s your policy, Mr Politician, you are not getting our vote. Your manifestos are removed from the reality on the ground and do not attempt to address our ills or any social ills for that matter.

Creating a welfare state is just an accident waiting to happen. What do you do when the state coffers run dry?

How do you fund welfare policies when there are not enough people employed to pay taxes? Just one or two issues you dismally fail to address in your policy documents.

I hear the opposition parties trying to defend themselves: “But you are not being fair, we are not in government and we didn’t make those laws. Give us your vote and we’ll change that.”

You might not be the government of the day, but you are in parliament, some of you since ‘94, yet you do not challenge those laws and you did nothing to stop them being enacted into law. How many cases have you taken to the Constitutional Court of laws that you think are unjust and unfair?

I will give credit where it is due. The government has provided housing for those in need, alleviated poverty through social grants, built clinics, introduced feeding schemes at schools – quite a long list and quite impressive. But as long as that long list is matched by a second list, even longer than the first, a second list that contains scandals, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, thieving, arrogance, not listening to the people, not giving the people what they want – as long as it exists, the first list means nothing to most people.

Your inaction, Mr Politician, when it comes to disciplining those who tarnish or put black stains on your party or government will cost you my vote. I won’t vote for people who take me for granted.

So what do I want? I want you stop taking me for granted. I want to be heard, me and the millions of South Africans in my position.

The rich will always vote to protect what they have, the poor will always vote to consolidate whatever they are getting from the state. But what about those caught in the middle?

They are protecting nothing because they have nothing (except mountains of debt), they are getting nothing from the state. So why should they vote, why should they waste their time standing in long queues to vote for something that means nothing to them?

Those are the questions you should prioritise, Mr Politician. Please go back to the drawing board and come up with policies that will accommodate these individuals.

Yes, they have turned their backs on you at the moment because they feel ignored, taken for granted, less important in your immediate plans. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded to be active participants in the shaping of the country’s future.

All they want is to be treated the same way as the rest of South Africans, get the same benefits from the state as others, but mostly they want their voices heard. I’m sure I speak for millions when I say all these words, millions who nobody bothers to listen to.

The ball is in your court now, Mr Politician.

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