FILE PHOTO: Election workers hand over ballot papers to elderly and disabled South African voters to cast their ballots during early voting. Picture: Ben Curtis

As South Africans prepare to go to the polls on Wednesday, The Star asked the main contenders why they were worthy of your vote. Here are their responses…

Jacob Zuma - African National Congress President

South Africa needs a government that has the experience, political will and a sound understanding of what needs to be done to address the country’s apartheid past.

The ANC, given its experience as well as sound policies and programmes, will continue to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society and to promote prosperity and a better life.

We will continue the extension of services such as the provision of water, housing, electricity, social grants, better education and health care, and ensure that South Africa continues to become a better place to live in, for all our people.

Mmusi Maimane - Democratic Alliance Gauteng Premier Candidate

The DA will create jobs and cut corruption. We will create an environment where young people and entrepreneurs have access to the economy and can grow their businesses.

We will open up tender committees and prevent public servants from doing business with the state.

The DA will ensure that state funds are directed to where they are most needed and not into politicians’ private homes or cars.

The DA will bring the kind of change and prosperity that Nelson Mandela dreamt of in 1994.

We will bring South Africans the freedom they can use.

Bantu Holomisa - United Democratic Front Leader

The ruling party has presided over jobless growth. Compounding matters, the socio-economic circumstances of our people make it difficult to safeguard the gains of our freedom.

The UDM believes job creation is the ultimate weapon to combat poverty, but this goal can only be realised if corruption is rooted out and the economy properly managed.

As demonstrated by our track record, the UDM advocates zero tolerance of corruption. We will restore proper relationships between politicians and officials. A UDM-led government will invest in the economy through properly planned infrastructure development programmes to stimulate it.

Mamphela Ramphele - AgangSA Leader

South Africa is in a DA- and ANC-driven decline. We will provide credible leadership and a government that prioritises citizens.

Our manifesto offers a clear turnaround plan that has been declared as doable and necessary by independent analysts.

The party is driven from the ground up, and offers a clear distinction to the millions of voters who cannot bring themselves to vote for either of the two main parties who offer the same old rhetoric.

We offer a new beginning, a chance to reclaim our once-tasted greatness, and an opportunity to build a winning country, together.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi - Inkatha Freedom Party Leader

The IFP offers something unique: a proven track record of clean governance and strong opposition. The IFP has pioneered many of South Africa’s successes, including the roll-out of antiretrovirals, the creation of teacher training colleges, and the establishment of special industrial zones. We know how to grow the economy while meeting immediate needs. Everyone is talking about the government’s abuse of power and its failures.

But only the IFP is putting the power where it belongs: in your hands. If you’re looking for a party of integrity that’s strong enough to bring a real fight, vote IFP. The power is yours.

Mosiuoa Lekota - Congress of the People Leader

COPE is committed to defending the retention of the constitution. At present, the state of our nation is that we are deep in debt, and Cope is committed to addressing this, and in the process, speeding up delivery. Cope is committed to creating an enabling atmosphere so that domestic and international investors can come and invest resources. Investment is key to dealing with unemployment.

There must be a way in which some control of public representatives is placed in the hands of the populace. Top of the agenda would be prioritising quality education. Unless we transform the human resource element, we will not be able to deal with development problems.

Julius Malema - Economic Freedom Fighters Leader

Malema was unavailable, but the party’s election manifesto prioritises economic emancipation through the nationalisation of land, mines, and banks, as its strategy to woo voters.

It has targeted the provision of quality social welfare services – including doubling social grants – and enforcing minimum wages and banning labour brokers. The party has also dangled guarantees of free quality houses, education, and health services for the poor.

To fight crime and corruption, the EFF plans to increase police visibility and make the criminal justice system more efficient and ban public servants from doing business with the state.

The Star