Attempts to undermine the fabric of our democracy and the relationship between political parties and there campaign sponsors require urgent attention. To understand politics is to understand corruption. Recently Gwede Mantashe revealed a political reality that few ordinary people can fully comprehend. He stated on television that people who live in regions in which service delivery protests occur should assume some responsibility. He qualified this by averring that when the ANC engages the leadership of these communities to resolve issues the ANC removes problematic individuals. However, the same communities that experience service delivery problems often re-elect the same problematic leaders. In my opinion, this happens because the problematic individuals are sophisticated and know how to influence and manipulate people and processes. Some of the money that is siphoned from corrupt activities is strategically reinvested into the community to ensure re-election. This leaves the ANC with an entrenched problem as the corrupt leaders are unfortunatly democratically elected. Should the ANC insist on removing such leaders, it goes against the will of the electorate and the ANC could be accused of autocratic behaviour? This implanted behaviour is tearing at the very fabric of the ANC. On another level, major political parties decline to reveal their financial sponsors. Voters have no idea where the campaign contributions are coming from and this infers a danger for our democracy. Independent Electoral Commission costs is R200 000 for national participation and R45 000 per province. A minimum of R600 000 in fees is required. If seats are not won, the entire sum of money is forfeited and another R600 000 if not more is required for the next national election. Since roughly 50 000 votes is required for a seat, small parties run huge risks with limited money. Our democracy has become a gamble with costly advertising as a key factor. Financial ability suggests that a national political campaign with all the election paraphernalia remains the reserve of big money. Political optimism and value based parties without money will remain marginalized. In time, few political parties will endure like in the USA, Britain and the European states and political values and optimism will be bought and sold by vested interest. This will occur as small parties will be financially starved out of the electoral process since they cannot access the state coffers from which to manage a program of patronage. In the words of Harry S Truman, “once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear”. Cllr Yagyah Adams Cape Muslim Congress

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