South African Election Analysis

Dear Bay Weekly:

I congratulate you on the Election Educator [Oct. 28]. The present, mid-term election is my second experience in your country after the Barack Obama victory two years ago. The rubbishing of candidates of opposing camps is no different from electioneering in my own country, South Africa. You aptly put it as “a season of mud-slinging.”

As a retired councilman of the City of Cape Town, I discern certain similarities and differences in the contenders, here and back home.

In your editorial was a sentence that gripped my attention: “a new strain of the old throw-out-the-bums electoral fever.” Marvelous and here is why:

The president of my country, the Honorable Jacob Zuma, last Sunday fired seven ministers. “We are guided by the mission of our government, which is to improve the quality of life for all South Africans, especially the poor, working with all our people,” he said.

In South Africa it’s not so much insufficient government funds, but rather the inefficiency of officials to spend them. Multi-millions sit in the treasury instead of being used to alleviate poverty and the resulting crime through skills training, seed-money, grants-in aid, infrastructure improvements.

In many ways, the USA is beset by the same troubles we experience in my country. That’s why here and over there people vote with their feet.

–Herbert Syre, Annapolis