Picture: Kevin Sutherland/EPA
Voters will be spoilt for choice on election day, with almost 300 political parties to choose from.

With voter registration completed, parties will shift their attention to intensifying campaigns and launching manifestos. New parties will scramble to elect leadership structures and draft policies in time for the elections.

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), since last year, 47 new parties have been registered while 37 are waiting for approval.

The most notable new party is the Good party of former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. 

Another is former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement (ACM), and Jimmy Manyi joining of the new African Transformation Movement (ATM).

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) also registered its Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) late last year.

Around 288 parties are registered to contest nationally, while 294 have registered for provincial elections, with the Western Cape leading with 106.

But not all registered parties are expected to make it to the voters roll as there is a hefty registration fee of R200000 to contest nationally and another R45000 per province.

Political analyst Zweli Ndevhu said the emergence of many of these parties speaks to an open democracy but says a lot fail to capture voters as they often share similar messages.

“It means people are spoilt for choice, but the challenge with that is that some parties repeat the same message and it does not help voters.

“Other people stand for elections for various reasons; some are not genuine people who are championing the interests of the people but are there for their own interest. Some are pop-up parties that will die after the elections. But what you’ll get, for instance, with the party Mr Manyi has joined is formed by people who are attached to a religious sector and that doesn’t necessarily translate to votes, so some won’t make any impact.”

Ndevhu said the trend in the formation of new parties stems from members leaving their own parties and trying to emulate the EFF’s success.

“It is mostly people leaving the ANC to form their own parties. But we are also seeing the same with the DA. All of them are hoping to emulate what the EFF has been able to achieve, which I don’t think is possible because many are hoping to add voters from those who are undecided,” he said.

Sunday Independent