Campaigns intensify as major parties launch election manifesto, hold rallies

The country’s major political parties are preparing to launch their manifestos in the next few weeks. Pictures: Brendan Magaar / Independent Newspapers

The country’s major political parties are preparing to launch their manifestos in the next few weeks. Pictures: Brendan Magaar / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 18, 2024


THE DA launched its election manifesto at the Union Buildings ahead of a likely battle for the hearts and minds of KwaZulu-Natal voters between the ANC and uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party in Durban.

The ANC will hold its manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban next Saturday, while the MK Party is, at the same time, scheduled to host a former president Jacob Zuma rally at the Scottburgh Golf Club, which is about 60km south of the 2010 Fifa World Cup venue.

This will not be the first likely showdown between the two parties, as they have a date with the Electoral Court in Mangaung on March 19, when the ANC will attempt to reclaim its now disbanded military wing’s name and logo.

A poll by the Social Research Foundation (SRF) shows that in the event of a 66% voter turnout, the MK Party could obtain almost half (24%) of the ANC’s support in KwaZulu-Natal, leaving the governing party significantly low on the 54.2% it garnered in 2019.

The SRF poll, conducted between January 31 and February 7 among 820 people in KwaZulu-Natal and days after Zuma was suspended by the ANC, also projects that the IFP could obtain 24%, the DA (15%) and 5% for the EFF.

ANC national executive committee member and deputy defence and military veterans minister Thabang Makwetla has revealed that Zuma never was part of the leadership at the military headquarters of MK, which he said he has now come out of retirement to reincarnate.

”Zuma’s ride into the sunset may signify the jettisoning of the baggage that was sinking the ANC ship,” he said.

The EFF also launched its manifesto at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last weekend.

The IFP also will be at the same venue for its manifesto launch on March 10 as the battle for the province - with the second most number of registered voters, intensifies.

According to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), there are 27.4 million registered voters and Gauteng is still the province with the biggest voting population at 6.4 million, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 5.7 million, then the Eastern Cape with 3.4 million voters.

In addition, they said 77% of the 352 524 new voters who recently registered for the first time were under 29.

In KwaZulu-Natal 103 647 young voters registered, followed by Gauteng with 82 168, and the Eastern Cape at 43 673.

The run-up to the upcoming manifesto launches in KwaZulu-Natal has been marred by the murder of an IFP Mtubatuba ward councillor and two children aged 11 and 12, in Nongoma last Wednesday.

The IFP expressed its deep concerns that political assassinations continue unabated in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police deployed their political killings national task team following the murders.

The Young Communists League (YCL) urged the IEC to reinforce security and police visibility on the day of voting after cases of assault emerged in one of the voting stations, where a member from one political party was assaulted for supporting and canvassing.

”This kind of behaviour cannot and should not be tolerated, everyone has a right to association,” YCL national secretary Mzwandile Thakhudi said.

Some of the country’s major political parties also face an intense campaign period after market research company Ipsos South Africa released its latest poll and revealed that the ANC is likely to dip below 40%, while the firm expects the DA to be replaced by the EFF as the official opposition.

”The EFF performs marginally better than the DA, potentially positioning itself as the ‘official opposition.

“However, these results should not be taken at face value as the figures include 10.1% (one in every ten) of the registered electorate who have not aligned themselves with a particular political party, indicated as ‘will not vote’, ‘refuse to answer’ or ‘don't know’," stated Ipsos’s new poll, adding that the results do not constitute an election prediction.

The poll also said the ANC could obtain between 44% and 46.3% depending on the turnout on election day.

The MK Party did not feature as the poll was conducted prior to the establishment of the new party on December 16.

Following a meeting of its extended national executive committee last week, the MK Party received a major boost when uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), which was disbanded by the ANC in 2021, indicated that it would allow its members to exercise their democratic right of association and choice.

MKMVA treasurer-general Des Van Rooyen said the association would not victimise or expel members for joining other parties due to the current abnormal situation prevailing within the ANC, which he accused of side-lining and marginalising them and failing to implement ANC conference resolutions.

”The meeting noted that most of MKMVA members have joined and are leaders of the MK Party due to the current ANC leadership failure to listen or give MKMVA audience,” he said.

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