I'm both disturbed and delighted to discover today that following a High Court application, South Africans abroad have finally been granted the right to vote in the upcoming elections.
"Section 33.1-E of the Electoral Act was found invalid in terms of limiting the casting of special votes to people who are temporarily out of the country" - News 24
Of course, when I myself telephoned South Africa House a couple of months back, I was told by a woman with the strongest possible Afrikaans accent that they couldn't help me, I must contact the I.C.E. I have to own up to being frustrated beyond belief by her strong accent, by the fact that she could barely speak English and by the fact that this was exacerbated by a fake English accent that she was trying to attach to her already unintelligible speech.
I was also frustrated that this person was representing South Africa to hundreds of people that must phone South Africa House a day. How mortifying.
Mostly, however, I was frustrated because the abbreviation of the South African Independent Electoral Commission, set up to ensure free and fair elections in South Africa, is in fact I.E.C. and this moron at the end of the line could not even tell me that.
Perhaps I am shooting the messenger but it appears that I am not the only South African that takes the future of my country very seriously and is passionate about my Constitutional right to vote.
That brings me to why today's news disturbed me. The High Court application was brought on behalf of a South African teacher living in the UK by the Freedom Front Plus. This is a right wing political party in South Africa and I find it unsettling that my right to vote has been defended by such a party. Unfortunately, this is but one of the many cases that the FF+ fights every year as their political strategy is to "produce results for the Afrikaner in the way in which they approach the governing party". The future of South Africa depends on equal rights for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, language, class, creed or religion. Would it not be better for all parties to be defending the Constitution?
Seriously, South Africa, it is time to remember your pride and to reflect the country in a positive way and to fight at all times to protect the Constitution.
ETA: Apparently, the Democratic Alliance also launched a High Court application. Interestingly, their application would not have solved my problem of not being able to vote as it would have allowed only those temporarily living abroad the right to vote.