Why must it be about race?

Cyril Ramaphosa.

A non-racial, non sexist society. That’s the kind of society the ANC will tell you it wants to build. A society where your race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, and level of education will not be judged.

This is also the kind of society our Constitution attempts to promote, nay dictates, we must all strive to achieve.

Well then, why is it that in the run-up to polling day, Jacob Zuma chooses to make an issue of race?

At the ANC’s big election jamboree in Johannesburg on Saturday, replete with a slew of performing arts talent coming out in favour of a vote for the ANC, our esteemed president, who bangs the drum of equality, takes a tilt at black people who choose to vote for the DA, and even worse, the black person who chose to lead the DA.

Despite the role that the Progressive Party played in the struggle years – it chose to fight apartheid from within, rather than from outside the system – he vilifies white DA members as former oppressors, decrying the fact that they still sit in Parliament.

Which sounds eerily like Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who on more than one occasion, has told us that if the DA comes to power, it will bring back apartheid.

“Bring back” suggests that the DA had a hand in the creation of apartheid in the first place, which other than inadvertently benefiting from it, the DA did not do.

Admittedly, the progenitors of the DA did little to stem the tide when the likes of DF Malan set in motion the events which would lead to our institutionalised edifice of subjugation, which made us the pariah of the world, but from the days of the Progressive Party onwards, the opposition fought within the system for an end to apartheid.

Aside from politics making strange bed fellows, it also makes for short memories. Jacob Zuma seems to have forgotten that his predecessor was only too happy to welcome the remnants of the New National Party into the ANC, and to appoint its failed leader, Marthinus “kortbroek” van Schkalkwyk as Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tour-ism, and it was Jacob Zuma himself who appointed Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder as Deputy Minister of Agriculture during his first term of office.

And let’s not forget such DA luminaries as Tony Leon and Douglas Gibson serving as am-bassadors to Argentina, Para-guay and Uruguay, and Thailand respectively.

So, having embraced former enemies so closely, why now does Jacob Zuma and the ANC seek to suggest that the DA is little other than an apartheid sheep in wolf’s clothing?

In a word, “bangmaakstories” (fear mongering), because for the first time in two decades, the ANC is faced with the very real prospect of losing outright control of up to four metros on Wednesday August 3, and having to seek a coalition with the probable kingmaker, the EFF’s Julius Malema.

And for Jacob Zuma and the ANC, this is the stuff of nightmares.

The ANC election war room strategists watch the same news channels that we do, even if Hlaudi “with a chance of meatballs” Motsoeneng does continue to paint a cloud cuckoo-land picture of the state of the nation, and they pore over the same poll results as well.

They see the decline in support for the ANC, and the concomitant rise in support for the DA and the EFF, and they are afraid, very afraid.

An election tactic it may be, but exhorting the electorate to vote along racial lines will do little other than perpetuate the racial divide we seek to bridge.