The 2014 forthcoming elections in South Africa are considered a vitally important election and will certainly reflect the uncertainty of the majority of the people. The ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) has been in power since 1994. Several opposition parties have managed to keep seats in Parliament since 1994, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) is currently the official opposition to the ruling party.
The ANC, the current ruling party, have over the last 20 years been criticized for their corruption, greed and general lack of governance. The country is plagued with social and economic crises, and the ANC have made no serious steps to uplift the lives of the majority of the people. Crime has escalated to unmanageable levels and health care is considered a failed structure.
The ANC is obviously losing support among the poorer and middle class citizens of the country. These people are starting to express their doubts about the ANC policies and their ability to govern the country. The ANC will continue to have strong support, and it will be difficult to remove this party from National level, but not impossible. If they continue their governance of greed and corruption, there will certainly be a sizable loss of votes for the ANC in the next election.
The DA, the official opposition party, holds less than 20percent of the seats in parliament and has shown a steady growth of support over the years. Their excellent governance of the Western Cape Province and excellent service deliveries have marked this party as a trusted party who can govern for the improvement of the people. The proven ability to govern fairly and their relentless struggle against apartheid will surely make a difference to many voters who want to live in a corruption free society.
Voters in South Africa are not limited to following only those two political parties for the 2014 elections. The Congress of the People (COPE) is the third largest party and has remained in the background as the battle for the leadership of the party continues to make headlines.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has always maintained a few seats in parliament but has been plagued with internal friction, causing a rift within this party. Their stronghold is the Zulu dominated KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is likely that they will continue hold onto their current support for the upcoming elections.
During the year, different political parties were formed and will challenge the election next year. South Africa First (SAF) is a new party formed by previous members of the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto-we Sizwe . Then there is the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) launched by independent mine-workers and the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).
A new party formed this year, Agang South Africa (ASA) and is led by the former anti-apartheid icon Mamphela Ramphele. The name Agang is a Sotho word, meaning “to build.” It is the party’s five principals of empowering people to govern, ensuring sound public services, restructuring the economy, improving on the education system and restoring the country to international standards. The party will strive to build a stronger democracy and will challenge the ANC in the next election. It is forecast that a substantial number of the black middle class voters will unquestionably take away votes from the ruling party and will have seats in parliament next year.
The newest political party to be registered is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by the infamous Julius Malema. Left wing policies and nationalization schemes promoted by the EFF are favored by the poorer and uneducated masses. Julius Malema will gain a large number of votes on the promises he is making to people. The ignorant want the land and the EFF have promised to give it back to the people.
An exciting election is forecast for South Africa in 2014 and, more importantly, a free and fair one. There is no doubt that the contesting parties will ensure that no underhanded strategies are used in this decisive election. The dishonest tactics used in the neighboring Zimbabwe’s elections early this year will be a challenging determination for South Africa to record an honest election.
Written by Laura Oneale