In less than two weeks, South Africans will be able to vote for a new government or will continue to support the old one. The ANC’s promise of a “new dawn” has been met with scepticism in some parts, but to be honest, none of the opposition parties have put up their hand to attract people who might not want to put their fate in the ANC’s hands again.
Most people know the story of the ANC, the once-glorious liberation movement that became mired in corruption, mainly because it made some seriously bad leadership choices. But I want to look at the opposition parties, those in Parliament and those who are hoping to be there after May 8.
The DA is increasingly showing that they are a party struggling to deal with political realities in democratic South Africa. Quite often the actions of the party betray the “D” in their name.
The DA can rightly feel that their dominance in the Western Cape is under threat after the shoddy way they treated former mayor Patricia de Lille, whose own Good movement is hoping to put in a decent enough showing in the Western Cape, taking away some support from the DA, which could see them ending up as kingmakers in the province.
If this happens, don’t be surprised to see De Lille assuming the premiership as part of an alliance of “anyone but the DA”.
De Lille is the closest thing to a political celebrity in the Western Cape. At the recent Cape Town International Jazz Festival, she struggled to see any of the acts because she would be confronted every couple of minutes by people who wanted to take selfies with her. Whether that is an indication of her electoral support remains to be seen.
The EFF has some appeal to post-apartheid youth who feel that the state should provide them with everything, including free education, housing, wi-fi and land, among many others. The EFF manifesto is unrealistic and dangerous, because they do not seem to consider where the state is supposed to get the money to pay for giving everything away for free to its citizens. But while the EFF seems to be the popular party for the Twitter generation, they do not appear to have the support where it matters among the electorate because many young people have not bothered to register to vote.
The ACDP has been very active in areas such as Mitchells Plain, where I have seen their campaign workers trudging the streets on Saturday mornings. They have also had a strong push to gain support from church leaders, especially in the “coloured” areas. It remains to be seen whether the ACDP will become more than a party that wins a reasonably insignificant amount of the vote at election time.
One of the proverbial dark horses, in the Western Cape at least, is the Land Party, which was started by former disgruntled members of the ANC and the EFF which, incidentally, is also a party of former disgruntled ANC members.
Another party of former disgruntled ANC members is Cope who seemed to have run out of people to support them. Bantu Holomisa’s UDM could also be seen as disgruntled former ANC members, but the former homeland general appears to have retained a decent relationship with the party that expelled him.
It is difficult to see single-issue parties such as the Land Party or the Green Party making significant inroads among the electorate. Our society is complex and parties with solutions to more than one of our serious issues are more likely to be taken seriously by the voters.
I am finding it difficult to decide on a party deserving of my vote in the Western Cape, but come May 8, I will be at my local polling station to cast my vote. We fought too hard not to exercise our right to vote.
* Fisher is chief executive of Ikusasa Lethu Media.
** Fisher is an independent media professional. Follow him on Twitter: @rylandfisher
*** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.