New blood in S. Africa polls

South Africa will hold general elections on May 7, new political players are expected to make gains

New blood in S. Africa polls

World Bulletin/News Desk

Though many believe the trophy is reserved for South Africa's two leading parties, new political players are expected to make gains in upcoming polls slated for May.

"In previous elections, the contest was between the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA)," political analyst Ralph Mathekga told Anadolu Agency.

"But this year, we have two new vibrant political parties in the race: the Economic Freedom Fighters [EFF] led by Julius Malema, and Agang SA led by Dr. Mamphela Ramphele," he said.

Mathekga, the founder of a local research think-tank, notes that the two traditional rival parties have almost identical economic policies.

He believes the new parties are relatively radical, especially in terms of economic policy.

The EFF – founded by Malema, an expelled former ANC Youth League president – advocates for the re-distribution of the country's farmland, which is mostly in the hands of whites who benefited during the long period of white minority rule.

Malema wants to see resources shared between whites and blacks. The slogan of his party is "Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime."

Many youths and disaffected South Africans have joined the EFF, which claims to draw inspiration from the people's suffering and which promises to improve their lives once elected to power.

"The EFF and Agang SA might not get big margins in upcoming elections, but they will bring diversity and create a platform for shaping the country's political future," said Mathekga.

South Africa will hold general elections on May 7, with the participation of nearly ten political parties.

Less popular

The ruling ANC party remains the frontrunner, although many observers expect it to win less this time around.

"I will vote for the ANC because it's the party that fought for our freedom from the racist white regime that treated us like non-human beings," Soweto resident Tobela Mongai told AA.

He said the new parties were promising South Africans heaven on earth, when in fact they were only interested in winning votes.

"I'm an ANC supporter for life," said Mongai.

Tabisa Nomufundo, another Soweto resident, disagrees.

"I love the ANC and I've voted for them since 1994, but unfortunately they haven't been effective in delivering services to the townships and informal settlements," he told AA.

Nomufundo claimed that many people had waited in vain for the free homes that the ruling party promised years ago.

"I'm black, but I won't vote for the ANC until the party fights corruption within its ranks," said one man, identifying himself only as Mdu.

The ANC has been the governing party of post-apartheid
South Africa since 1994.

In recent years, the ANC – once led by the iconic Nelson Mandela – has been tainted by allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

The most prominent corruption case involving the ruling party relates to a series of bribes allegedly paid to companies in a 55-billion-rand arms deal saga.

Some critics have blamed the party for failing to deliver on promises to provide housing and job opportunities for the country's poor black majority, much of which continues to live in squatter camps.

Georgina Alexander, a political researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations, believes the ANC will still win elections, albeit with fewer votes.

"There will be some percentage drops in the ANC's vote, though I don't want to predict the figures," he told AA.

Alexander believes the ANC will fail to maintain the 65.9 percent of the vote it has garnered in past elections.

The ruling party clinched 65.9 percent of the vote in 2009 parliamentary polls – slightly less than the 69.7 percent it won in elections four years earlier.

Last Mod: 10 Mart 2014, 17:45
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