There is less than a week to go before the 2014 Elections in South Africa, and predictions for the outcome are circulating through the media. The May, 2014, election will be the fifth democratic election for the country and anticipation of a significant change is sought. Although there are over twenty political parties contesting this year’s elections, the top five will typically make an impact on the final outcome.
The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party, has succeed in maintaining a current majority with each previous election and during the 2009 election saw a drop of over three percent. This did not affect their strong control. While the last five years have been a turbulent time for the ruling party, there is every indication that their popularity is waning, and people are expecting a drastic change in the government of the country. Over the past five years, the failing delivery of services have influenced intense public protests. Crime and corruption within government departments has escalated. The scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma and the tender fraud have disheartened the citizens.
The ANC have done little to assuage the pressing problems, and the problem of inequality is a paramount concern. Top ANC officials have defected to other parties or formed their own political party in the hope of convincing voters of a better future. With all the trouble the ANC face, there is a real possibility the party will obtain a majority vote and maintain its overwhelming dominance but with a lower percentage that will prove to the world this party is failing.
The recognized Democratic Party (DA) has steadily increased its popularity over the last twenty years. The good governance within the Western Cape Region over the last five years is a positive aspect to their ability to govern with fairness and place the citizens of South Africa as a top priority. Before the democratic elections, the DA was a vehicle for the majority of South Africans and always opposed apartheid. Their experience in parliament and a firm commitment to fairness will bode well in the upcoming elections and their support growth will surely increase significantly.
The Congress of the People (COPE) party participated in the 2009 election and received a fair share of support. Although the party has experienced a few leadership quarrels, it remains a decent choice for most. COPE was formed after angry ANC officials left the party to establish a reputable and responsible party for the people of South Africa.
The new AgangSA party is led by Dr. Mamphela Ramphele another defector from the ANC. A formidable woman with an optimistic future focusing on education and a better life for all. The new AgangSA party will participate in the May 7 election and their complete and definite promise of delivering good governance will make significant support.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party led by the charismatic Julius Malema, a former staunch ANC supporter now banned from the party, is on the campaign trail all over the country to gain support. The EFF leans more to a socialist rule and Malema makes many promises about land reform by taking back the stolen land from white South Africans and returning it to the rightful owners. This commitment has delighted many South African people, especially those living in rural areas and the poor. Malema is adamant he will win this year’s election amidst all his personal troubles and continues to attract more voters each day. It would be a surprise indeed for this party to win the final general election and a prediction of not more than fifteen percent would be more realistic.
Other minor parties will either earn a few percent of the vote, enough to let them to participate in parliament as an opposition party. There is a possibility that many of the minor parties will not received the right number of votes needed and will either establish an alliance with one of the gibber parties or give up on politics.
The provincial elections for the nine provinces also go ahead on the same day as the national elections. Throughout the twenty years, the ANC have dominated all of the provinces with the DA winning the Western Cape in 2009. The eight provinces directly under the ANC administration have received little, and sometimes no service deliveries and visible downgrading is a fact. The Western Cape has made significant improvement in governance during the last five years.
The EFF party is particular popular in the Limpopo province and might be able to achieve the lead in the provincial election. This is the same province where the municipality was declared bankrupt and tender fraud was among the highest. Gauteng province is currently under the ANC rule, and the DA increased its support during 2009, which could lead to their gaining this province.
The other provinces will see a decrease in ANC rule with an increase in support for AgangSA, COPE and other leading opposition parties.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) is a system that is outdated, easy to hack into, and more than 80 democratic systems have done away with them. It is believed that South Africa does have this system, but whether it will be in use or not in the upcoming election is not certain. The verifiable process and ballot paper with an updated voters roll will probably be the preferred method of voting.
Nearly 26 million South Africans are registered to vote in both the regional and general elections on May 7 elections. The ANC, DA, EFF have aggressively embraced the election campaign and remain committed to getting their message to the average South African citizens. The focus on the 2014 election of South Africa is a fascinating time and all the different predictions will eventually be over on May 7.
By Laura Oneale