It's very easy to treat the media and citizens with disdain when you have more than two-thirds of the vote and solid support within your own rank-and-file. It's much harder when your voting share is below 60% and declining.
As a difficult year comes to an end, with no apparent end in sight to our problems both political and electrical, it's easy to simply write off 2019. To consign it to the dustbin and say, "Be gone with you". However, 2019 has confirmed the existence of a very powerful and positive dynamic in South Africa that has taken hold and cannot be easily stopped. It has shown that our democracy and freedoms have become more entrenched than ever before. And that citizens, and their institutions, are becoming more powerful, while politicians are becoming weaker.
In the early 1990s, it was common to claim that "democracy is coming" or that "freedom has arrived". It was as though we went to sleep on 26 April 1994 in a repressive society and woke up in a free one.
Of course, it's not like that at all. Real democracy and the freedoms that come with it take time to filter down. With the vote,...