There is a fundamental difference between the plight of Americans living under a dreadful Democrat government and South Africans living under a dreadful ANC government. Americans have a high chance soon of getting an alternative ruling party with good policies. South Africans have no such chance.

The latest Ipsos poll on voting intentions for the coming local elections must be treated with caution, as Ipsos itself points out, but the results are bleak. If the elections were held now, 49.3% of people would vote ANC, 17.9% DA and 14.5% EFF. Since the ANC and the EFF have the same policies, it means 63.8% of South Africans would vote for policies that have proven disastrous over 27 years. I’m not sure how much better the policies of the DA would be. 

Joe Biden, in a short time, has probably shown himself to be the worst president in US history, and his Democrat administration the worst in living memory. Trump handed him a working vaccine program against Covid-19; Biden lied that he hadn’t. The Democrat policy of an essentially open Mexican border has flooded the southern states with criminal gangs, drug traffickers and unaccompanied children, all being illegal immigrants.

Biden, who inherited a rapidly recovering economy under Trump, has damaged it with a colossal printing of money, which has already caused high inflation. He has partly nationalised private property by declaring tenants need not pay rent. The careless manner of his withdrawal from Afghanistan has been calamitous, with high loss of life. The Democrat policy of providing very expensive protection to elitist Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Lori Lightfoot but withdrawing protection from poor, vulnerable people in the inner cities – sometimes even using the slogan “Defund the Police” – has been followed by a massive increase of violent crime, with the worst victims being poor black people. The Democrats have embraced the vile racist ideas of Critical Race Theory, whose central theme is that blacks are innately victims and whites innately victimisers.

But in America there is a powerful alternative with good ideas, which is likely to increase its power in the elections next year. Most of it is from the Republican Party, which I must confess rather surprises me. Republicans, unlike Democrats, agree with Martin Luther King that people should be judged on their character not their colour. They believe immigration must be controlled. They want strong police protection for everybody, rich and poor. They want freedom of speech and the rule of law. They support capitalism and reject socialism. For Americans, there is hope that the current nightmare could end soon.

There is no prospect of the South African nightmare ending soon. 63.8% of the parties likely to be returned believe strongly in the ruinous policies of the past, which have destroyed the lives of most black people (although making a black elite very rich). Our economy has been wrecked by cadre deployment, racial affirmative action, BEE and employment equity. The ANC and the EFF want to continue these policies. They like our crippling labour laws and minimum wages, partly responsible for our 44.4% unemployment.

Both the ANC and EFF hate capitalism and love Marxism; both worship Robert Mugabe and want to repeat his policies here; both adore Communist Cuba; both are corrupt, with their leaders living in high luxury; both send their own children to posh schools with mainly white teachers while making poor children go to appalling state schools with black teachers controlled by SADTU. We are doomed as long as either rules.

The DA is our closest thing to a decent alternative but not very close. Its strongest point is its record of clean, honest, efficient local government. It also promises, unlike the ANC, to reduce the tyrannical power of SADTU over our education. But as for its policies, what are they? Does it want to get rid of BEE, racial affirmative action and racial employment equity? I don’t know. Its policies vacillate.

The DA had its origins as a straightforward liberal party, treating all people in the same way, and believing in free enterprise. It departed from such clarity about twenty years ago and has flirted on and off with wokeness ever since, now promoting its officers on skin colour, now denying that it is doing so. As far as I know, it wants to keep our job-destroying labour laws. My biggest personal gripe against it, as a Cape Town resident, is its constant attack on Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, which for 37 years has provided Cape Town with the safest, cleanest, most reliable, most affordable electricity in South African history. It wants to replace it with solar and wind, which have proved hopelessly unreliable and very expensive. It embraces the nonsense of climate alarm.

We know exactly how to make South Africa prosper. We should simply follow the example of all successful economies on Earth: clean, limited government; efficient rule of law; free markets and free enterprise; freedom of employers and employees to make their own voluntary employment contracts without outside interference; promotion on merit; and all people to be treated the same regardless of sex, class or colour. 

Nobody is offering this now.