Our country has been going through some tough changes in the last few years and continues to do so. I can’t help thinking, however, that in a country that has a largely uneducated populace it might be helpful if we were a little more honest about governments.

Ask anyone whether Democracy is a good way to run a government and they will say “Si senor, ees muy grande primo idea” or something to that effect, depending on how drunk they were and how much better than mine their Mexican impression was. The truth is, though, that it is an appalling way to run a country.

Sacrilege! I hear you cry. But bear with me here. Democracies are extremely wasteful and inefficient. It takes huge effort to accomplish small tasks. To, let’s say, pass a new traffic law where people who drive at forty in the fast lane of the motorway (almost 30% of Cape Town, in other words) were put to death by having to watch back-to-back episodes of The Felicia Mabusa Suttle Show (which is more than she could do until she got contact lenses) there is a lot of procedure.
First there has to be a publication of a discussion document “Toward a white paper on …”. Then it goes to a committee (What’s the definition of a Camel? A horse designed by a committee). They discuss it with stakeholders (the tow truck vultures, for instance, who benefit from all the accidents caused by the resulting frustration) and it is submitted as a green paper which is then published for objections to be raised. Then those objections must be dealt with and everyone in Parliament is given a copy so they can make spit-balls and fire them at the opposition (off camera only as stated in Section Three of the Parliamentary Charter) and I’m bored already.

There are 17 different, separate stages to go through t make a single, simple law about killing very annoying people that everyone wants dead. The final stage is where the President has to ratify the proposed act and once handed the document sighs, looks you straight in the eye and says: “You’re all a bunch of bloody loonies. You can’t have people killed for traffic offences.”

Even if you got your cousin Vinny to lean on the President a bit and he ratifies it the Constitutional Court would throw it out because in the constitution Chapter 11 Section IV Subsection iii Statement 3 Point 27 that, and I quote: “No person shall be executed in such a fashion that will cause undue lengthy suffering such as watching even 10 minutes of one episode of anything with Felicia Mabusa Suttle in it.” Apparently she’s mentioned in the Geneva Convention under Forms of Torture (Banned).

A democracy is useless. It’s awful. It just so happens that it’s less awful than any other form of government we’ve come up with. On a serious note, though. Being part of a democracy is not just about voting once a year. It’s not about individuals, it’s about groups. It’s about organising to put constant pressure on the people who need our votes for re-election to do what we say

(For foreign readers: Felicia Mabusa Suttle is a local talk show host modelled on Oprah. Think of a black Joan Rivers without the charm, wit or facelifts).


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