Politics has been defined in many different ways. Heywood elaborates thatAristotle declared that ‘man is by nature a political animal” by thishemeant men can only from a just society and good community through apolitical community”(2002:8).South Africa have the judiciary system that was formed through political influence, though voting into power members ofthe parliament that are able to makes laws for the country, this provesthat politics is essential to the existence of a just society and good life where people practice full freedom of expression and the right to vote.Politics encourages people participation in decision making this is being practiced in South Africa, where people are going to polls in April2009 to vote for the President of their choice in the parties contesting.Heywoodquotes Rousseau as he argued that “only through the direct andcontinuousparticipation of all citizens in political life can the state be boundtothe common good or what he called the “general will” (2002:46) Politics involve the people in decision making although the people voted intopowerfocus on their personal needs and selfish ambitions that do not involve the people who voted for them.
According to Heywood politics can be defined as” compromise and consensus,this mean politics plays a pivotal role in decision making and resolving conflict that exist in a state thus conciliation and negotiation ratherthan force” (2002:7). Politics enables decision making in South Africamostof the decisions about national building are made in the parliament bypoliticians for example the national budget that was presented by his honorable finance minister Trevor Emmanuel. National interests are presented before the politicians for them to make decisions on behalfofthe people they represent although politicians tend to misrepresent thepeople’s interests in parliament. In South Africa politicians tend topreach what they will never do; they only want the people’s vote duringelection time, this bad practice of politics results in negativethoughtabout the politicians themselves.
Politics involves the fair allocation of resources within a state that does not result in conflict, it enables the central decision making to bemadeby one board thus the parliament, this results in quick decision making in times of need. According to Heywood politics enables a political solution that implies peaceful debate and arbitration as opposed to what isoftencalled a “military solution” (2002:7).The important role by the SouthAfrican government and the former president Thabo Mbeki to be the mediator between the conflicting parties of Zimbabwe ZANU PF and the MDC showstheimportance of politics in decision making as they were able to come up with solutions to resolve the crisis. Heywood quotes Crick as he portrayed politics “the solution of the problem of order which chooses conciliation rather than violence and coercion (2000:30).
Heywood also defines “politics as power, that it takes place at everylevelof the societies”(2002:10).Through politics South Africans have managed to achieve their hopes and aspirations this can be dated back in 1994 when South Africa was freed from the Apartheid system and be able to practice their right to vote. According to Heywood “politics is essence, power;the ability to achieve a desired outcome, through what ever means”(2002:10).Politics can make people and states achieve their goals but not necessarily in a good way, they are other brutal political causes.
However Heywood attacks politics as “associated with activities of politicians which are often seen as power seeking hypocrites who conceal personal needs and ambition behind the rhetoric of public services”(2002:7)ln South Africa we have a lot of politicians who focusabout their personal needs instead of the people who elected them into parliament some are involved in corruption activities that are at theexpense of the people.lt all because of politics why the people suffer,the apartheid system that existed prior 1994 was established by politicians whowere cunning ,cruel and manipulative. Heywood quotes Machiavelli “thestrictly realistic amount of politics drew attention to the use bypolitical leaders of cunning, cruelty and manipulation” (2002:7).
According to Heywood “defines politics as “dirty word” that conjures upimages of trouble, disruption and even violence on the other hand deceit,manipulation and lies on the other” (2002:4) South African politicians have some of the characteristics mentioned by Heywood as the deceive thewill ofthe people who elected them into power by not fulfilling the promises they made during the election time. According to Heywood (2002:7) he states that
The negative view of politics reflects the essentially liberal perception that as individuals is self interested, political power is corrupting because it encourages those in power to exploit their positions for personal advantage and at the expense of others.
Although politics is defined as power Heywood states that” the advocates ofpolitics as power are feminists and Marxists to the extent that women are not recognized in the world of politics” (2002:10).ln South Africa alothas been done to introduce women in the world of politics but a lot needs to be done because a lot of man are feminists they still have the traditional thinking that women can not rule or lead. According to Marxhereferred to “political power as merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another” (1967:57).ln South Africa we still have politicians who oppress the lower class people by not representing them fully inparliament thus stealing away their voice.
In conclusion the many ideologies makes it difficult to study politics objectively as we can only understand it through the concepts, models and theories in which some of them are biased. The study of politics isvitalin the world we live in as it makes us understand the causes of war,resources allocation, practice of power, and governance. According to Heywood “politics must be practiced within a frame work that checks and constraints than ensure that government power is not abused. SouthAfricaneeds to have an independent commission that deals with political misconduct by the politicians. It is imperative to study politics withapositive mind putting into consideration the benefits of having a good political system that leads to a democratic state with liberty,freedom,the right to vote and justice.
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