I have been thinking really deeply about this “Democracy” thing. I have also been reading Anti-Competition Legislation in place in numerous countries, including our very own Competitions Act (98 of 1998)
As a total layman in this field, what I conclude from these pieces of legislation is that laws are needed to prevent a company from abusing a position of dominance in a market, by unfairly increasing prices, forcing out smaller players and indulging in various other uncompetitive practices.
The most prominent recent case was the United States vs Microsoft.
Amidst calls to break up Microsoft into smaller less monopolistic entities, the presiding Judge Jackson stated in his Findings of Fact on November 5th, 1999 that;
“Microsoft’s dominance of the personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to the monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, Real Networks, Linux, and others.”
The ANC is currently holding it’s “Policy Conference”. “Policy” is being discussed, but because of it’s absolute dominance over the political landscape in South Africa, the difference between what is ANC “policy” and what WILL become legislation is blurred. The same applies to the succession battle. Whether this battle is about who will lead the ANC or who will be leading the country seems irrelevant, it’s an absolute “given”
- Is this Democracy? I don’t think so.
- Would this dominance be tolerated in business? Definitely not, we have legislation to specifically prohibit it.
In fact, if we used the Microsoft case, there should be calls to force the ANC to split into smaller, more competitive parties, ANC, AND, ANE, ANF etc.
Here is the % votes enjoyed by the winning party, runner up and others for a few “Developed” countries in their last elections;
USA, 53%, 42%, 5%
UK, 37%, 33%, 30%
France, 53%, 47%, 0% (after second round which eliminates “others”)
Germany, 35%, 28%, 37%
Australia, 41%, 38%, 21%
New Zealand, 41%, 39%, 20%
Now let’s look at our “Democracy”
South Africa, 70%, 12%, 18%
Spot the difference? Does this mean that the ANC can do no wrong? Does this mean that 70% of the voters think they are doing a great job? Or does it just demonstrate how naive our voters are? Maybe it’s just because we are a very “young” democracy.
So I thought I’d go back to when the US was a “young” democracy. Here is the result from the year 1800.
Democrats (Jefferson) 53%, Federalists (Adams) 47%.
What is wrong in Africa? Why do we have such overwhelming majorities? Maybe we, as Africans, really just yearn for a dominating Dictator? Why are we pretending that this is a democracy? Are we just going through the motions?
Is the concept of a Western-imposed, Democratic System of Government foreign to us?
“Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. “