One of the ordinary folk who gets mixed-up messages

Ronnie my nephew believes that I am corrupt and I blame the country's skewed politics for this state of affairs.

Ronnie my nephew believes that I am corrupt and I blame the country's skewed politics for this state of affairs.

You see, my government, the one that runs my life and household, is his aunt. So Ronnie lives with us.

He is in his early 40s and a fellow whom you can describe as one of the people in the true sense of the word.

Ronnie had a short encounter with high school but is uncannily clued up about and loves to dabble in politics in as much as he indulges in "dirty water", as he calls the inebriating stuff.

He is a chap who is very quiet, almost to the extent that you could think he was dumb. But wait until he has imbibed the water. Then the man can swear like a mariner.

Ronnie is a handyman par excellence. He can paint a house as immaculately as he can landscape a garden.

So this past Sunday Ronnie arrived home in the evening as usual and told me he was from "parliament".

"Bra T, I have left the ANC and joined the 'People's Party'. You are a member of the ANC and just as corrupt," he said.

I was astounded and we both sat down as I tried to probe the source of this unprecedented attack.

But all I achieved was the same "You and the ANC are corrupt" response, which ended up resonating just like an echo.

Of course, Ronnie belongs to a "parliament", he says.

This is normally held in some bush not far from my home, where he meets regularly with his drinking buddies and they engage in their brand of politics.

I reckon that on this particular occasion the latest political shenanigans - the ANC implosion and the birth of Cope - were the order of the day.

And maybe he had consumed rather one too many when he said he was joining the People's Party.

Had he wanted to say Congress of the People? Maybe.

Ronnie represents many South Africans who are usually described as ordinary. He might not be sophisticated but he is caught up in the novelty of the moment.

He is going with the flow. Isn't what is happening in and around the ruling ANC on everyone's lips?

Ronnie epitomises those with honest intentions or the charlatans or chancers or opportunists; and anyone who, willy-nilly, is affected or disaffected by what's on the political horizon today.

But if there are many others like Ronnie out there who will just shout that the ANC is corrupt without any substantiation, then I shudder how many more are being told anything else about other parties as well.

I have to say that this is the result of a political leadership that still needs to grow up.

Too many insults jump off newspaper headlines and into our living rooms from TV footages.

It is no wonder therefore that Ronnie, a potential voter, is confused.

He has read somewhere or heard a news bulletin about this or that party being corrupt or of snakes or something like that.

He believes what he hears or sees. His "parliament" will therefore gladly vote for the People's Party, whoever they are.

Are they as "ordinary people" not being caught in the quagmire of words that send confusing signals?