The problem is, the people have not spoken. Not enough of them, anyway!
Both the electoral commission and the president have declared last week’s local government elections as free and fair, but it’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s later comments that piqued my interest.
As some councillors celebrate victories and others lick their wounds, there is an even more pressing issue – the matter of representivity, or the lack thereof.
It was only the sixth time we as citizens got to vote for improved municipal services from democratic councils.
And if the numbers are to be believed, we have pretty much lost all hope of it ever happening.
The fact that we now have 66 hung councils after the lowest voter turn-out since 1994 is a huge problem for our democracy in general, and representivity in particular.
There are more than 60 million South Africans, 26 million are registered voters, but only eight million went to the polls last week.
If you drill down even further to see how those votes were split between the different parties, then you’ll understand how many of us are now politically voiceless by not being represented in our local councils.
Without exceptions, our councils are literally minority governments in every sense of the word – not a state I thought we would ever find ourselves in again, after Apartheid.
There is a quote attributed to Nelson Mandela, which goes: “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.”
And that means kick them out of power.
I dare say that what we saw at the polls last week, was the red flag that successive presidents have been ignoring for years.
Many of us have been warning that we are teetering on the brink of mass social unrest, even revolution, unless the government stops paying lip service and starts tackling the demoralising corruption, traumatising crime levels and dehumanising poverty and unemployment.
Last week’s massive voter no-show may have been a gentle final warning.
Those parties who have been celebrating wins with self-righteous “I-told-you-so’s” must understand that their win-margin is inflated because of the low voter turn-out.
Had the bigger parties inspired more confidence in the electorate and had more voters actually turned out to support them, then the percentages for the smaller parties would have shrunk by comparison.
Besides, people didn’t vote for them because they bought into their politics or believed their campaign promises.
People voted for them as a rebound, middle-finger gesture to the bigger parties.
It’s like vrying with someone in the club, just to spite your ex, who is eyeing you from the bar.
But a win is still a win, and now the hard work begins.
Those new parties have five years to prove themselves to us, gain our trust and admiration and maybe even secure our deliberate votes next time.
Just like when you end up married to the person you were revenge vrying.
It seems there may well be a win in it for the citizens, as these “kingmakers” are now in positions to negotiate strong deals with parties who want to govern the hung councils.
And they will want to use that position to gloat, by insisting on conditions that will guarantee them votes in the next elections.
For example, the EFF says it will demand things like a state pharmaceuticals company, free water and electricity for the poor, cancellation of student debt and the nationalisation of the reserve bank.
If they manage that, their target voters will benefit.
But whichever bigger party makes those concessions (let’s face it, it will have to be the ANC), they will shoot themselves in the foot long term, for the short-term gain of governance.
In the meantime, opposition parties, as well as the new kids on the block are all spinning the numbers to make it appear as if their increases and wins were an overwhelming display of the will of the people.
But they know the truth is far less definitive than that.
They know that while they may have won a few wards here and there and may govern with the help of coalitions, the truth is there was no outright winner.
Hung councils by definition means the residents were desperately unhappy and unconvinced.
The fact that small parties can now negotiate T&Cs to resolve the impasse, doesn’t mean voters trusted them more.
It simply means voters wanted to send a clear message to existing councillors.
So in reality what happened, was an overwhelming majority vote of no- confidence.
It was a culmination of almost 30 years of frustration, disillusionment, victimisation, trauma, anger and disappointment bursting out in the best way it could.
So Mr President, the people have indeed spoken and in the deafening silence, I hope you could hear the volume of their despair.