Debates were hosted by Right2Know (R2K) in Khayelitsha on Friday and in Ocean View on Saturday.
Farouk Cassim represented Cope, Bridgette Cloete the Patriotic Alliance, Sharna Fernandez the DA, Suzette Little the Good party and Desmond Jehola the ANC.
R2K spokesperson Busi Mtaban said: “Election manifestos help to contextualise the priorities of a political party, and over the years we have heard a myriad promises made by political parties, with little to no delivery.
“The debate is to determine if the 2019 promises are attainable, do political parties have the interest of citizens at heart?”
Fernandez said South Africa was a country that had lost its way, with nearly R3 trillion in debt, and it was borrowing money at the rate, plus interest, of R1.2 billion per day.
“The DA has a very clear manifesto that talks about eliminating corruption and state capture. We cannot allow our country (to be) run by an elected government that doesn’t uphold the Constitution.”
On how the DA was going to deal with land expropriation, she said: “We will deal with land in terms of Section 25, and there is no need to amend the Constitution for land.
“The populism that is preached out there by the ANC and EFF to garner votes before the May 8 elections is just pure politics.
“Come May 9, no one is going to get land and what we see now with land grabs is the breakdown of the rule of law, all because of irresponsible comments made in Parliament.”
Little said: “We sit here and discuss manifestos. All these manifestos are wonderful. A few years ago, a number of political parties (were) all standing with posters promising jobs.
“We want permanent jobs that are going to build communities. Give us a chance for five years, and if we don’t deliver, vote us out.”
Cassim said his party’s manifesto reiterated it was crucial that the government downsize so that more money and resources would be available for the people.
He said Cope had been advocating that the government should shrink by 60%.
“Wait and watch what happens after the election. If the government remains as big as it is there will not be enough money from taxes or even from borrowed money to be able to provide services. We need to attract people on the basis that South Africa is a constitutional state.”
Meanwhile, Cloete emphasised that the government needed to fast-track housing, especially for people in Ocean View, who had been living in the flats for more than 50 years and still had to pay rent.