An Open Letter to the DA

Dear Democratic Alliance

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will let you know up front that I am not politically minded.  I read a few articles now and then, I listen when people share their opinions, and I have a few opinions of my own. I haven’t read your manifesto – or any other party’s for that matter. So, I guess I represent the average middle class white South African male.

You have my vote. I want you to know that, come election day, I will put my little cross next to Mmusi’s face. But I also want you to know that you have not earned it. I am not putting my cross next to the DA logo because you are an amazing party. I am putting my cross next to your logo because, well, who else can I vote for? You’re really the last kid being picked for a sports team on the primary school soccer field.  I have a choice… either I pick the kid who can’t kick a ball if it was sitting motionless in front of him (that was me, by the way) or I play with one less player.

You have frustrated me.

I am frustrated by the fake black accent Mmusi has suddenly picked up and uses whenever the cameras are on.  Over the years, I have had many encounters and conversations with your leader.  I have the utmost respect for him. I don’t believe there is anyone better to run your party. But the first time I heard him speak on TV I was horrified. “Who is this? Where did that accent come from? Why is faking where he comes from?”  My friends – mostly the white ones – tell me I’m being stupid and he has to do it to win the support of the poor and uneducated who are very unlikely to vote for him.  My point exactly! One of the greatest accusations against you, dear DA, is that of window dressing. Why reinforce that mindset? I am surprised the ANC hasn’t shared videos of Mmusi speaking at church… black accent: gone! If I were an ANC leader… I would have done a mashup of the various accents long ago!

I am frustrated by your assumption that you have my vote. Every video I have seen (again, I am not political – so I may have missed some) has been filmed in rural South Africa amidst a dust storm. I get it! Those are the communities that need the greatest change. Those are the communities who need the greatest convincing to jump ship. But your assumption that my sandton/fourways/waterkloof vote is a given is not only frustrating – it is offensive.

I am frustrated that you are negative. All. The. Time.  Why feel the need to point out, day after day, the negative things in our country.  Your campaign headline is “vote for change”, but all you do is communicate what we are changing from not what we are changing to. That is vision casting 101 – tell people what you are offering.  I honestly have no idea what you are proposing you are going to do. All I ever hear is about what you are not going to do. Sorry, DA, that’s not enough for me. [WOW! How’s this! I have just received an SMs from DA telling me that today is the “last change to register to stop Zuma”. NO! I don’t need that. Tell me why YOU deserve my vote, not why he doesn’t]. Just this last week you published a list of all the ANC leaders who voted against Zuma’s impeachment. Why do that? Why not decide to be positive for once? It would have been so easy (easier, in fact) to list the 13 (?) people who voted in favour of impeachment.  “Hey, South Africa, there are some guys in the ANC who have your best interests at heart. This is them…”.  Are you so insecure that you are incapable of giving credit where credit is due?

I’m frustrated that I cannot put my vote down proudly. I would like to, confidently, proudly, tell people that I vote for the DA because you are an incredible party. If you spent some time on my social media accounts, you will find that I take on the role of self-appointed ambassador for companies that impress me.  You could be forgiven for thinking FNB, Discover, Gary Rom and the Four Seasons pay me to promote them. They don’t! They are just SO good at what they do that they deserve to be spoken about. You do not.

So that’s my rant. Those are my thoughts. Like I said, in these municipal elections, I will give you my vote. I will be sad about it – but I will do it. My only hope is that when you get my national election vote in a few years time, you would have done enough to earn it.

Yours faithfully

Mark Odendaal (Rev)
Reluctant voter.

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2 Responses

  1. Crystal says:

    Hi Mark, during 2011, you posted an article entitled ‘How dare you vote like that?’ in which you by your own admission, sang the ‘most likely biased’ praises of the DA and insinuated that (Christian) people who vote for any other party (I’m assuming, the ACDP included?) were less than intelligent. Five years later in ‘An open letter to the DA’, you express that you are ‘frustrated’ by this party and your first criticism is of Mmusi Maimane. Interesting……

    • Mark Paul says:

      Crystal, thank you for your comment. Isn’t it great that life allows us to grow, to change our opinions, to be more educated? In fact, even since the post you have commented on I have had to eat my words, as the DA are clearly doing a great job in all three new metro’s they have recently won. I will, however, not apologise for my frustrations. No political party (including the ACDP) completely and fully represent me and so that will, naturally, leave room for frustration. Frustration is not an enemy. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to search a 2011 article especially.

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