Waking up to reports that Marius Fransman has been re-elected as Chairperson of the ANC in the Western Cape – was a surprise to some, for others it was an affirmation that indeed “coloured lives matter” in the new South Africa.
It goes without saying, that to deliver the Western Cape, Coloured people need to believe that the ANC has their best interest at heart, and therefore Fransman was the natural choice.
Whether Fransman is the perfect candidate is irrelevant. Whether he can deliver fundamental change in the conditions of the poor isn’t the objective – at least not right now.
The objective is clear – place the face and work from there.
We live in a “rainbow nation” – where race politics is integral to the success of every political party. We can not deny that political parties tailor their messages depending on the audience – in Kwa-Zulu Natal parties talk to Zulus and Indians very differently to the way they talk to Coloureds and Whites in the Western Cape.
Therefore, the move to keep Fransman as Head was strategic and delivered exactly what we expect from Political Parties – more of the same. In recent times, the DA and EFF have done the exact same thing…
The question is – what is next?
Can South Africa reach a point where race does not determine the outcome of an election? And more importantly, are political parties a mere reflection of what society wants?
Do we only want people of our own race to “lead” us? Politicians certainly think so. Why else would the DA elevate Maimane after less than a year as an MP?
Simply put – We are a race obsessed country and we vote along racial lines. End of story.
Now, we are told #ColouredLivesMatter and we have Marius and Patricia to contend with because of that. But does this political “race game” actually make a difference? Or does this make the people of the Western Cape more vulnerable to manipulation because of it?
Put Nkandla(and all other ANC scandals) aside for a second, And let’s ask the tough question – Does Marius posses the ability to unite the Western Cape the way Ebrahim Rasool did? Or are we trying to regurgitate old strategies, so we can relive the ANC glory days in the Western Cape?
Fransman has a tough task. While he has managed to bring the party together in the Western Cape, we can not deny that the ANC brand is damaged in this province.
It will take a lot more than a Coloured Face to convince this province that #ColouredVotesMatter.
Fazlin Fransman is Deputy Chairperson of the Allied Movement For Change. A Civil Society Organisation working in impoverished communities promoting political activism from the ground up.
Follow her on Twitter @FazlinFransman