Mon, 27 May 2024 Feature Article

South Africa 2024 Elections - Which Candidate Is The Wise Choice? - The Smart Decision Toolkit

South Africa 2024 Elections-Which Candidate Is The Wise Choice?-The Smart DecisionToolkit

On the 29th of May 2024, South Africans will vote for their political leaders at the national and local governance levels, and since the country is regarded as a democracy, whoever will get the majority of the votes shall become the office bearer for the next five (5) years.

The most important thing about these elections or any other election is that casting a vote quite often determines who shall govern the community for half a decade, and thus voting has a serious effect on the socio-economic reality of the masses in both the short- and long-term.

During the campaigning season, many people in South Africa were charmed by the promises in the political campaigns led by various candidates and thus the electorate is now ready to cast their votes, but the question remains — Which Candidate Is The Wise Choice?

In this 2024 elections, there are several main contenders including the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and dominant opposition outfits such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Democratic Alliance (DA), Action — South Africa and newly formed Jacob Zuma led MK Party.

There are also several other less known political parties such as Freedom Plus, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Al Jama-ah and Rise Mzansi.

No matter what people were promised, the wise choice in this regard is not in choosing the most intelligent, the most eloquent, the most educated or the most-humble politician but a person who knows the meaning and essence of politics in relation to his community and the world around it.

In my book, Primitive Politics and The Poverty Machinery, I wrote that Politics deals with the administration of societal affairs towards enhancing interpersonal interaction for a peaceable co-existence in progressively adapting to the dictates of nature.

I further added that politics in general entails the creation, provision, maintenance, development and promotion of a conducive environment for a harmonious and progressive interaction of humanity in a given territory.

Contrary to the popular view, it is not really the political candidate who matters the most in the elections but the voter, in the sense that if the electorate lacks an understanding of the meaning and dynamics of politics, they will make excitable and foolish decisions at their own expense.

It is very unfortunate that despite good intentions and the excitement that people will show at the ballot box, the majority of the electorate dismally lack basic understanding of politics and governance.

If you would do a survey before and after the elections, you will be shocked to note that most people who are committed to vote do not even know what it is exactly that a president, member of parliament or councilor does and yet they are the majority of the voters.

Quite often, most ordinary people do not know or do not believe in using any decision-making framework in choosing a politician to represent them and they also do not know of any accountability mechanism to adopt towards making politicians perform their duties effectively and responsibly.

Unfortunately, like I always say, the tragic reality of life is that if you make serious decisions on a subject which you are not well informed about, you are likely to appoint yourself as the factory manager of your own problems regardless of your good intentions and excitement.

In my other book, The Smart Decision Handbook, I propose and recommend the adoption of what I termed the Smart Decision Toolkit.

This toolkit is premised on the Fundamental Congruence Checklist which is basically a set of ten questions which helps you to process information about a certain subject in order for you to understand it better.

A Fundamental Congruence Checklist seeks to answer critical questions that are important for analysing information towards making informed decisions and taking the right action.

It is a multi-versatile decision-making tool that can be used to gauge the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of anything in life through answering some ten questions.

For example, concerning South Africa’s national and local government elections, the electorate must have the following questions in mind and strive to seek the answers thereof. More-so, people who want to venture into politics need to also ask themselves the same questions regarding the electorate.

1) What is a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc?

2) What do these people do and how? — What are their key result areas or objectives and how are they accomplished?

3) Why do these people perform these duties? — Why are those the key result areas, objective, or purpose?

4) What happens if these people do not do anything or does not perform as expected?

5) Where is this thing or person situated in the whole political matrix and in life — what position does these people occupy in my life?

6) Why are these people so important to me? — Why do I allow them to occupy such a space in the matrix of my life?

7) What happens if I don’t vote for this person or even if I don’t vote at all?

8) Who makes sure that a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc performs his/her duties effectively and responsibly? — Who makes sure that these people perform their work as planned?

9) How is the effectiveness of a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc assessed? — How do we as the electorate know if a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc is effective or not?

10) What happens if a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc is effective or not — What are the related consequences?

When you don’t ask yourself these ten questions, you are most likely to make excitable decisions that are very costly and regrettable since the people you vote for will determine how your tax money is used and what kind of life you will live.

Even if you shall vote them out after five years because of malperformance, they might have caused serious damage to the wellbeing of the nation through engaging your country in unnecessary wars, increasing the national debt or plunging the nation into inflation.

As such, the ten questions in the Congruence Checklist gives you a broader perspective when you want to make a political decision since it has an effect on your health, time, money and other resources.

A Congruence Checklist helps to reveal the probable consequences of your decision on various other aspects of your life, i.e. the financial, emotional, or spiritual implications of your decisions and actions.

The main advantages of this checklist as a decision tool are that the first three questions focus on clarity on the subject matter by shedding light on the definition, purpose and processes associated with whatever you are dealing with.

The focus on these three issues helps with assurance/confidence on the fact that whoever is making a decision is doing so on a subject that he/she clearly understands.

Question Four (4) on the checklist helps the decision maker to be open-minded enough to understand that despite good intentions, some missions fail and thus, the mind should be prepared from the beginning to be accountable for such failures and to also come up with Plan B or even C.

The fifth, sixth and seventh questions on the checklist has a ‘Pareto’ effect in that it deals with essence and relevance as a way of evaluating the worthiness of consideration, adoption, and implementation on any subject matter.

These three questions focus on the assessment of importance. When you answer these questions, you will be able to understand if whatever you are dealing with is really worth your time, money, energy and resources.

Question Eight (8) seeks to identify a person or group of people who are responsible for the implementation of a certain resolution, and also shows us those individuals that are tasked with the mandate of making sure that everything goes as planned (oversight).

The nineth and tenth question seek to address the issue of effectiveness, results and impact, since resolutions that are adopted without clarity on these issues are very costly in terms of time, energy, money and other resources.

Once all the questions on this checklist are answered and a resolution is passed to act on a certain decision, the relevant authority must then sign what I termed the Smart Decision Report which gives an overview of the details behind the adoption of a certain policy, process, procedure etc.

The Smart Decision Toolkit ensures that people make openminded decisions and take informed action which they are accountable for and thus promotes the adoption and implementation of the best Corporate Governance practices in both the private and public sector.

Those who make decisions without the use of any decision framework or toolkit, whether in their individual capacity or as a group in an organisation tend to act whimsically (emotionally) than logically at the expense of their stakeholders i.e. family, friends, or shareholders.

It is therefore critically important for every individual or organisation to adopt the Smart Decision Toolkit in their quest for efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and best practices in the pursuit of any objective.

Brian is an Author, Media Practitioner, Entrepreneur and Consultant who is passionate about helping people make informed decisions and take informed action in the pursuit of their personal and corporate goals using the Smart Decision Toolkit.

For training and assistance on how to effectively use the Smart Decision Toolkit (Fundamental Congruence Checklist), contact Brian on — [email protected]