#Elections2014: Kasrils on 'Vote No' campaign

The former minister says the campaign is about getting people to talk and think about politics.

FILE: Former Cabinet Minister Ronnie Kasrils and Former Deputy minister of defense Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge have launched the campaign to vote against the ANC at Wits University on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The purpose of the 'Vote No' campaign is about getting people to talk and think about politics, former ANC member Ronnie Kasrils said on Friday.

The campaign, launched at Wits University in Johannesburg in March, called on South Africans to spoil their ballots or vote for smaller parties in protest against the ANC.

Kasrils said that the point of 'Vote No' isn't to spoil votes but rather to provide the public with options and to encourage them to consider smaller parties.

He was asked about his reaction to the outcome of the election results that indicate the annihilation of smaller parties.

"It [the campaign] was just about getting people to talk and think, and also to make them feel that they didn't have to vote for either of the two big parties - the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA)."

ANC GETS TOUGH LOVE

Kasrils said the 'Vote No' campaign is about giving the ANC some "tough love" and reminding them not to take votes for granted.

"They [the ANC] have been too smug, complacent and arrogant. I think we felt very gratified because we didn't ever think that the ANC could lose power anywhere in the eight provinces, except in the Western Cape."

The former minister said the party's electoral drop by two to three percent is a "wake-up call".

Kasrils says it will keep officials in check and to encourage them to focus more on services for the people.

In his opinion, it is a good sign that small political parties like the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) has done well in the elections thus far.

He also mentioned the encouragement he received from the public.

Furthermore, Kasrils views this as an indication that people have taken to the campaign in good spirit.

"There are lots of people who come to me and say, 'Because of you, I have spoilt my ballot or 'because of you, I voted EFF'."

According to reports, the number of supporters in the Vote No campaign has gone up quite considerably.

In that spirit, Kasrils believes he has made some difference.

But, he does not spoil his vote.

"The reason I am not saying for who I voted for is because it was a tactical vote. It doesn't necessarily mean I believe in those parties."

'VOTE NO' VS NOT VOTING

According to Kasrils, spoiling your vote versus not voting at all is not the same.

The vision of the initial campaign was to provide people with the option of not voting for a particular party but also to give them the option of exercising their democratic right to cast a ballot paper.

He says being "invisible" at casting stations was the idea that sparked the campaign in the first place.

"Only when people said that they don't like any party, then we said that they could spoil the ballot paper."

Kasrils also made reference to Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's comments on the campaign.

The minister had said that Kasrils was urging South Africans to commit a criminal offence.

"I know Lindiwe had an attack on me, saying that I should be charged. I am challenging her on that."