‘It’s cruel, sometimes, tennis’: Nadal tops Thiem at US Open

first_imgAllen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil View comments Hard to not think back to 24 hours earlier, when Nadal’s great rival, No. 2 seed Roger Federer, was upset in the fourth round during similarly muggy conditions. Nadal was sweating so much in the 90-degree heat and 50-percent humidity that a mountain of white towels formed next to his changeover bench.Thiem made him work for this win. And how.The depth and strength of Thiem’s groundstrokes were doing what Nadal’s shots usually do to opponents: robbing them of time and space. Plus, Thiem — an Austrian who turned 25 on Monday — was serving well, taking every point when he put a first serve in, and handling returns without a hitch.“After that first set,” Nadal said, “the match became more normal.”It took a while for Nadal to figure out what was wrong and become Thiem’s equal in entertaining, body-punishing baseline exchanges that inspired loud gasps from spectators. Still, this whole contest was filled with challenges for Nadal.He fell behind by a break in the third set before rebounding. He was two points from victory at 6-5, deuce, in the fourth as Thiem served, but flubbed a forehand volley, leaping for a ball that appeared to be sailing out and dumping it into the net. That mistake might have stayed in Nadal’s head, because he played terribly in the ensuing tiebreaker.In the fifth, Nadal held three break points at 5-all, love-40, but Thiem took the next five points told serve.That, Nadal would say afterward, managed to “break my heart. But I just keep going.”He usually does.When Nadal makes it this far in New York, he usually doesn’t stumble. He has now won seven U.S. Open quarterfinals in a row when he’s made it that far; his only loss in that round came back in 2006. Rafael Nadal, of Spain, celebrates after defeating Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal began his U.S. Open quarterfinal as poorly as possible, shut out in a set by a 6-0 score for only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches.On the previous three such occasions, he’d lost. On this one, he managed to come back to win, although it took 4 hours, 49 minutes and never did get easy for him.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college He is bidding for a fourth title at Flushing Meadows and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall.Del Potro, the No. 3 seed, got to the semifinals by defeating No. 11 John Isner 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2.During that earlier quarterfinal, Isner doubled over and rested his elbows on his knees. He grimaced. He shook his head. He looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but where he was: falling further and further behind in energy-robbing heat.“Whatever the humidity is on outer courts or in the city, I think it’s amplified on center court,” Isner said. “It’s just very difficult to deal with. I have never seen Roger sweat ever. If he’s sweating a lot and has to change clothes, then you know it’s pretty humid out there.”Isner was bidding to become the first American man in a dozen years to get to the final four at Flushing Meadows.But while Isner was playing before what could count as a home crowd, del Potro got all manner of support throughout, from the blue-and-white flags or soccer jerseys dotting the stands to the repeated singsong chants of his nickname, “Delpo,” punctuated by clapping.Those choruses resonated in the arena after key points, such as each time del Potro erased one of Isner’s break chances, three in all. Still, it was Isner who struck first, closing the opening tiebreaker with a 132 mph (212 kph) ace down the middle. That was the first set dropped by del Potro in the tournament.He managed to take the next three, though, and now meets Nadal for the 17th time on tour.Nadal leads 11-5, including the past three, each at a Grand Slam tournament: in the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year, followed by the semifinals of the French Open and a five-set thriller in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year. The defending champion and No. 1 seed at Flushing Meadows recovered from his disastrous start and other stumbles along the way to beat No. 9 Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) for a semifinal berth at a third consecutive Grand Slam tournament, winning a physical, back-and-forth tussle that concluded after 2 a.m. on Wednesday.“Very demanding, in all aspects,” said Nadal, who will face 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Friday for a berth in the final. “A question of a little bit of luck at the end.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’How tense and tight was this one? Not only was Nadal two points from losing at 5-all in the closing tiebreaker, but he finished with fewer total points, 171-166.“It’s cruel, sometimes, tennis,” Thiem said, calling the loss “the first really epic match I’ve played.” Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Double down on D When it ended, on an overhead by Thiem that sailed long, everyone in Nadal’s guest box — a group that included actor Ben Stiller — leaped to their feet to celebrate. Nadal climbed over the net to hug his opponent , then whisper an apology and words of encouragement.“I’m very sorry for Dominic,” Nadal told a rowdy crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. “He’s a close friend on tour. He’s a great guy. A great player.”Asked about that at his news conference, Thiem said with a chuckle: “Well, I don’t think he’s really sorry.”This rematch of the French Open final in June, won by Nadal, was his first match against a top-20 opponent at the U.S. Open since 2013, when he beat then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.It sure seemed at the shocking outset as if Nadal was somehow unprepared for this step up in competition. Thiem collected 24 of the opening set’s 31 points, thanks in large part to a 13-3 edge in winners.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titlelast_img read more

New Ebola Outbreak in Zuma Town Community

first_imgClouding the hope that Ebola cases in Liberia are nearing zero, a new outbreak has emerged in the Zuma Town, St Paul Bridge community leaving six dead and one contact escaped to Zekeleh, Lofa County. The new outbreak was disclosed by the Coordinator of the Ebola Task Force for electoral district #16, Mr. G. Baccus Karpeh on Tuesday when he made remarks at the program marking the Assessment tour of Mercy Corps, distribution of Anti Ebola materials and community engagements conducted by EQUIP Liberia and the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP) held in the Borough of New Kru Town.Mr. Karpeh disclosed that the new Ebola outbreak in Zuma town community, St.Paul Bridge in the Borough of New Kru Town has over twenty residents quarantined.He further disclosed that the taskforce has for the past few days been in search of Kebbeh Tarnue who was in direct contact with the victims.Mr. Karpeh said his greatest fear is that the lady, who is the direct contact to the victims and has escaped to Lofa County, will infect others and Lofa will suffer the recurrence of the virus.He disclosed that the taskforce is working tirelessly to make sure that those who are quarantined are taken care off.“This outbreak occurred on January 6 when six members of the family including the mother and father got infected with the virus and died. We presently have one of the contacts in the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) while over 20 persons are quarantined,” Mr. Karpeh reported.Following his remarks, Liberia Culture Ambassador Juli Endee promised to work with the Task Force to make sure there is widespread awareness through the Ebola Community Action Platform Project (ECAP) to prevent further spread of the virus in that part of Liberia.She said, “We Liberians don’t hope to have more new cases in our country again, so we will work together to have the lady who escaped arrested and quarantined. We want to make sure that Ebola is totally eradicated from Liberia and our neighboring countries Guinea and Sierra Leone. It only took a single person to cause the outbreak,” she cautioned.When contacted via mobile phone the Incident Management System (IMS) Director, Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, disclosed that he was aware of the situation in that part of Montserrado County, but said measures are being put in place.Reporter: Sir, are you also aware of the contact who escaped to Lofa County?Min. Nyenswah:  “I am not aware of any contact escaping to Lofa County but the task force is working to make sure things work out good.  For the past days we have reported no new outbreak in Montserrado County,” he insisted.Meanwhile an official from the task force, who requested that his name be withheld, when contacted disclosed that the task force has been actively engaged in tracking down the lady who is reported to have escaped to Lofa County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Allan Cup organizers seek extra help

first_imgBy Christine RumleskieAs the countdown begins for the 2010 Allan Cup Competition, organizers continue to recruit volunteers and sponsors.President of the Fort St. John Senior Flyers, Paul van Nostrand, talked about the prestigious competition on Moose FM’s Issues and Answers on Wednesday.- Advertisement -He says around 50 volunteers are needed for everything from ticket sales to security. And although sponsorships have been rolling in lately, van Nostrand says funds are still needed.[asset|aid=2474|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=1a5cc367726e87a418466b6b7ee5f5bd-van Nostrand 1_2_Pub.mp3]A full list of volunteer opportunities is posted on the Allan Cup website, at www.2010allancup.ca. There’s also information on sponsorship packages, game times, and the highly-anticipated Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit.Advertisement But there’s still no word yet on what day the Stanley Cup will visit the City, though van Nostrand says it has been booked.The competition runs from April 19th-24th at the North Peace Arena.last_img read more

TOTAL SOCCER: DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUE RESULTS, TABLES AND FIXTURES

first_imgDONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUERESULTSOld Orchard Inn Saturday Division OneErne Wanderers 3 v 0 Mulroy CelticKilmacrennan Celtic Reserves 6 v 3 Gweedore Celtic ReservesGlencar Inn Saturday Division TwoGlenree United Reserves 2 v 2 Downtown United Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionKilmacrennan Celtic 1 v 2 Lifford CelticMilford United 3 v 0 Lagan HarpsRathmullan Celtic 2 v 2 Dunkineely CelticSt. Catherines 5 v 2 Gweedore CelticWatson Hire Division OneCappry Rovers 0 v 3 Drumoghill F.C.Cranford United 0 v 2 Curragh AthleticCT Ball Division TwoDrumbar United 0 v 3 Dunlewy CelticGlenree United 2 v 3 Kerrykeel ’71 F.C.Gweedore United 2 v 1 Whitestrand UnitedUlster Junior CupKeadue Rovers 2 v 1 Culdaff F.C. FAI Junior CupGlenea United 3 v 2 SandyfordLeague table for Brian McCormick Sports Premier LeagueTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsGlenea United 6 5 0 1 14 5 9 16Dunkineely Celtic FC 8 4 2 2 25 17 8 14Lifford Celtic FC 6 4 2 0 12 5 7 12Lagan Harps FC 8 3 3 2 11 12 -1 11Milford United FC 6 3 2 1 14 7 7 10St Catherines FC 9 3 5 1 16 22 -6 10Kilmacrennan Celtic FC 5 3 2 0 9 8 1 9Rathmullan Celtic 5 2 2 1 8 6 2 7Gweedore Celtic 7 2 4 1 7 16 -9 7Castlefin Celtic 8 0 7 1 6 24 -18 1League table for Watson Hire Division OneTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsCurragh Athletic FC 8 5 0 3 30 5 25 18Eany Celtic FC 8 6 2 0 16 11 5 18Donegal Town FC 8 5 2 1 15 8 7 16Cranford FC 9 5 3 1 21 16 5 16Cappry Rovers 8 4 2 2 18 12 6 14Keadue Rovers FC 7 2 2 3 18 12 6 9Drumoghill FC 8 2 4 2 9 17 -8 8Ballybofey United FC 7 1 3 3 9 14 -5 6Raphoe Town 9 1 7 1 10 40 -30 4Arranmore United 8 1 7 0 8 19 -11 3League table for CT Ball Division TwoTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsDunlewey Celtic 8 6 1 1 21 11 10 19Gweedore United FC 8 6 2 0 27 8 19 18Whitestrand United FC 9 6 3 0 22 14 8 18Bonagee United FC 8 6 2 0 22 17 5 18Glenree United FC 9 4 3 2 22 19 3 14Kerrykeel 71 FC 7 4 3 0 18 13 5 12Convoy Arsenal FC 8 2 5 1 15 21 -6 7Letterbarrow Celtic FC 8 2 6 0 7 23 -16 6Drumbar FC 9 1 7 1 13 26 -13 4Copany Rovers FC 8 0 5 3 12 27 -15 3League table for Old Orchard Inn Division OneTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsErne Wanderers FC 8 7 0 1 25 8 17 22Ramelton Mariners FC 8 5 1 2 19 10 9 17Fintown Harps AFC 8 5 3 0 21 13 8 15Glenea United 8 3 3 2 9 10 -1 11Glencar Celtic 8 3 3 2 14 20 -6 11Kilmacrennan Celtic FC 8 2 2 4 14 15 -1 10Mulroy Celtic 8 3 4 1 10 13 -3 10Castlefin Celtic 8 1 6 1 13 19 -6 4Gweedore Celtic 8 0 7 1 8 25 -17 1 League table for Glencar Inn Division TwoTeam Played Won Lost Drawn Goals For Goals Against Goal Diff PointsDeele Harps FC 8 8 0 0 32 6 26 24Donegal Town FC Reserves 8 5 2 1 25 14 11 16Glenree United FC 8 4 2 2 16 13 3 14Downtown United FC 8 3 2 3 14 14 0 12Keadue Rovers FC 8 3 3 2 20 15 5 11Milford United FC 8 3 4 1 9 27 -18 10Gweedore United FC 8 2 6 0 12 20 -8 6Cranford FC Reserves 8 1 4 3 10 18 -8 6Tullyvinney Rovers 8 1 7 0 10 21 -11 3DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUEFIXTURESSATURDAY 15-12-2012 K.O. 2 p.m.CT Ball Division TwoLetterbarrow Celtic v Kerrykeel ’71 F.C. (K.O. 1 p.m.)Old Orchard Inn Saturday Division OneRamelton Mariners v Fintown Harps AFCGlenea United Reserves v Erne Wanderers Glencar Inn Saturday Division TwoGweedore United Reserves v Milford United ReservesKeadue Rovers Reserves v Donegal Town ReservesDeele Harps v Tullyvinney RoversSUNDAY 16-12-2012 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Watson Hire Division OneDrumoghill F.C. v Ballybofey UnitedCT Ball Division TwoBonagee United v Gweedore UnitedOscar Traynor Trophy K.O. 1.30 p.m.Donegal Junior League v Sligo / Leitrim League ( in Ballyare)TOTAL SOCCER: DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUE RESULTS, TABLES AND FIXTURES was last modified: December 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:TABLES AND FIXTURESTOTAL SOCCER: DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUE RESULTSlast_img read more

Former Bulldog Saubert Making Noise At Falcons Training Camp

first_imgFLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — As the Drake Bulldogs enter their first week of fall camp, former tight end Eric Saubert is showing the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff that he can make an immediate impact through two weeks of training camp.Saubert, a fifth-round draft pick, is getting notice for his crisp route running and rarely dropping passes, even coming away with some very tough grabs. That was one small window!TD for Eric Saubert ?? pic.twitter.com/MqSmlbngQ2— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 6, 2017″We’ve been impressed by Saubert so far,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. “We can’t wait to get him in; we think he can have a role on (special) teams, based on his speed. We’re throwing a lot at him, and he’s the type of kid that wants to keep coming on and keep coming on.”Saubert and the Falcons will begin their preseason schedule on Thursday at the Miami Dolphins at 8 p.m. (CST).Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Steph Curry promises Warriors will ‘chase more championships’

first_imgSteph Curry arrived in Tokyo on Sunday bearing gifts — none more valuable than his take on the Warriors.“The story is still going,” said Curry, according to the Associated Press. “A lot of people said this is going to be the end, but I’m not going to let that happen. It’s going to be fun to come back and chase more championships next year and beyond.”The Warriors earlier this month fell two victories short of capturing their third consecutive NBA championship. They will start the 2019-2020 …last_img read more

A Durant-Kawhi free agency team-up is on the table, ESPN report says

first_imgAnother NBA free agency summer, another superteam possibility.The postseason’s top two scorers, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, have been in communication about their free agency plans, including the potential of joining forces, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.The two teams both players plan to meet with in free agency are the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks, per ESPN’s report.Durant also plans to meet with the Warriors and …last_img read more

Takeaways: Why the Sharks’ 11-forward setup might have to end soon

first_imgLOS ANGELES — The Sharks departed Staples Center in a spot that just three weeks ago, didn’t seem possible to reach right before ThanksgivingAfter their 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, the Sharks now find themselves in a playoff position.Patrick Marleau scored with 2:25 left in overtime, as he collected a loose puck in front of the Kings’ net and fired it past goalie Jonathan Quick as the Sharks picked up their third straight overtime win and their ninth victory in 10 …last_img read more

Momento’s magic mohair exports

first_img7 April 2006It started with three unemployed but expert weavers and a scraped-together initial investment of R4 000. Today Momento’s of Africa is a world-class producer of luxury mohair textiles and apparel, exporting over 70% of its products to countries such as Germany, Canada and Dubai.The company is based in Port Elizabeth, the self-proclaimed mohair capital of the world. Mohair, produced from the Angora goats, has been called “the animal-lover’s fur” because the fine and luxurious fibre is produced by shearing, not killing.For many years, South Africa has been the biggest producer of mohair, most of it coming from farms in the semi-desert Karoo region. The fibre is auctioned in Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay.Today over 60% of the world’s mohair passes through the city in one form or another. This has allowed producers of finished mohair goods such as Momento’s of Africa to prosper.From self-help to world-classMomento’s – the odd spelling is intentional – has its roots in a small self-help project run in the 1980s by British expert weaver Lin Smith at the Port Elizabeth technical college. Called Pencen, the programme taught unemployed people to weave Xhosa tapestries, to allow them to make a living.But when funding dried up in the early 1990s the progamme was forced to shut down, leaving its graduates and trainers with good skills but no outlet for their products. Lin saw this as an opportunity and, with Pencen trainers Beauty Samana and Thandiwe Ngidi, set up a specialist tapestry curio shop at Port Elizabeth Airport with that scraped-together R4 000.Their success was immediate, with the shop gaining a reputation for high-quality mohair products by word of mouth.“Tourists started telling us how much they loved our blankets,” Roger Smith, Lin’s husband, told South African Exporter. “Then they started importing them in small quantities and started selling them in shops in their neighbourhoods. That’s how we started exporting.“The shop became famous, particularly internationally. We had write-ups in American magazines as the best place to buy curios.”ExpansionThe initial success led to a rapid expansion requiring new premises, and the airport gave the company an old hangar to use. As production increased, Momento’s had a ready supply of skilled labour – former employees and graduates of the Pencen programme, all trained by Lin.In 1998 output was increased, with new merchandise – scarves, capes, ponchos, shawls, pullovers, hats and berets – being brought into production. Overseas distributors were secured, and today Momento’s exports 70% of its products to Germany, Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand.By January 2002 the company had secured enough orders to keep its staff busy for the entire year.“We couldn’t take any more orders for that year,” Roger told SA Exporter. “People also wanted their goods as soon as they ordered, they didn’t want to wait for us to manufacture them some time in the distant future.”So the company expanded again, moving into a new factory the following year. Today Momento’s has two shops – Momento’s of Africa and Mogo – in Port Elizabeth and another, Moyisa, in Durban. There’s also the BabyMo factory and showroom in Port Elizabeth, where the public is welcome to both view products and watch the company’s crafters at work.International brandsMomento’s has launched a number of brand names that have come to denote quality all over the world.BabyMo products are woven from the wool of kid – or baby – Angora goats, resulting in extremely fine and silky textiles with none of the scratchiness that can be associated with mohair. Its popularity was confirmed when it won a Best New Product award at the prestigious New York Home Textile Show in spring 2005.The Shangora range is knitted – not woven – in kid wool, while the imiBoniso brand takes Momento’s back to its roots, with stunning mohair tapestries and wall hangings done to both modern and traditional Xhosa designs.With all its international success, Momento’s remains a very South African company, committed to the country’s future.With 69% of its shares black owned, it was named one of South Africa’s top 300 black economic empowerment companies at both the 2004 and 2005 Impumelelo Awards. Its staff is made up almost entirely of black people, most of them previously unemployed, and a fair number disabled.Momento’s also actively encourages its staff to acquire new skills, spending about 16% of its income on training courses.Information sourced from Momento’s of Africa and The South African Exporter. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Closing South Africa’s democratic deficit

first_imgTim CohenSouth Africa of the new era is often considered to be the victim of an odd and rather bizarrely undefined ailment: a democratic deficit.Technically, a democratic deficit is thought to be a situation where an entity considers itself to be democratic or somehow understands itself as at least aspiring to the notion of democracy but, for some reason or another, actually falls short.The classic example is the European Union. The EU is a body with substantial but rather ill-defined and vacillating responsibilities. It purports to be a democratic institution yet its powers are exercised mainly through representatives of constituent governments.The EU does have a rather poorly supported parliament, although its powers are less than authoritative. And of course the representatives of constituent governments are themselves democratically elected.However, in theory this circumscribed process has created a kind of distance between the institution and its nominal electorate, and it’s in the EU context that the term “democratic deficit” seems to get used the most.The argument that South Africa has a democratic deficit is based on the same notion but with a different set of causes. The theory is that the horrors of the country’s apartheid history have created such powerful reaction that many voters seem to be voting their past rather than their future.This powerful groundswell of political affiliation takes its concrete form in the huge and almost devotional support for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which won just on 80% of the vote in the most recent election.To put this into context, bear in mind that white, Indian and mixed-race South Africa constitute about 15% of the total electorate. Consequently, the outcome suggest that almost the entire black population of South Africa voted practically unanimously for the ANC in 2004. This also suggest that voters who are not black practically unanimously voted against the ANC.This racial barrier is also, in a way, evidence of the democratic deficit. It surely doesn’t stand to reason that voters should so overwhelmingly vote for political parties in alignment with their skin colour.Further evidence, if you are looking for it, of the democratic deficit in South Africa can be seen in the very broadness of the ANC’s support base. The party is supported by everyone from teachers to industrial workers, to rural subsistence farmers, to intellectuals, to billionaire business people. The same sort of span of support is rare in the democratic world. It suggests that individuals are voting according to notions of affiliation rather exercising a considered choice.The problem with the notion of the democratic deficit is that it’s a bit slippery. In a sense, most democracies have a democratic deficit, since not all citizens choose to vote.  Often we don’t know whether these voters are not voting because they simply acquiesce with the current system, or because they think their vote won’t make a difference, or because they just don’t care. In a sense, the notion of a democratic deficit suggests that everybody should care; that they almost have a duty to care and if they don’t something is wrong. But is that true?In South Africa, the same sort of question applies, but in a different way. What if the ANC’s policies are just so attractive in one way or another to all its different constituencies that voters are in fact exercising a considered choice? Actually they are not voting their history; instead they are voting for the only party with sufficiently competent leaders and sufficiently balanced policies which together are capable of holding together such a fractious country.  In other words, the ANC majority at the polls is earned, not granted as a matter of course.The point is that South Africa is about to learn whether it has a democratic deficit or not. The break-away grouping founded this last weekend, on 1 and 2 November, by former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa  is the first real credible threat to the ANC dominance at the polls. Lekota described his decision to leave the ANC “a divorce” and, officially, the papers were served at the weekend.For neutral observers of South Africa’s relatively new and unfolding democracy, the likely creation of a new party is excellent news. It creates the prospect of a more strongly contested election and potentially a break-up the ice-flows that have characterised the South African political scene since democracy in 1994.There is no certainty that the new party will amount to much. In fact, the ANC’s hugely supported rally on Sunday 2 November, was a defiant show of force aimed to take the wind out of the sails of the new grouping.But yet, the omens suggest that the new party will put in a solid showing during the elections due to take place after April next year. The analytical consensus seems to be that they will win at least enough support to ensure the ANC does not have the two-thirds majority required to change the constitution on its own. The new grouping’s leadership is well known and generally well liked. They appear to be resolved, and are drawing support from a broad range of different areas across the country.The 2009 election is shaping up to be perhaps the most significant since the first democratic election in 2004. If nothing else it will demonstrate whether there is a democratic deficit in South Africa or not.Go to the MediaClub weekly columns home pageTim Cohen is a freelance journalist writing for a variety of South African publications. He is currently contracted as a columnist to Business Day and the Weekender, where he worked for most of his career, and financial website Moneyweb where he writes on business and corporate activity for an associate site called Dealweb. He was the 2004 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year.last_img read more