Political Parties Vie for the Votes of Citizens Before the 2016 Local Government Elections

Political Parties Vie for the Votes of Citizens Before the 2016 Local Government Elections

The forthcoming 2016 Local Government Elections is dubbed as one of the most highly contested elections by the media and general public since emergence of Developmental Local Government.

NOSIPHO LUTHULI

What do you want happening with your vote on August 3? That was one of the key questions that formed the political parties dialogue for the local government elections on August 3, 2016. The dialogue hosted by the Democracy Development Program (DDP) together with Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS), attracted more than 120 people from ordinary citizens, parties, civil society organisations, universities and the media. The dialogue took place at the Maharani hotel on July 13, 2016. Its aim was for parties to unpack their manifestos and for the citizens to engage them on it.

 

Nine parties were represented at that dialogue namely the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), National Freedom Party (NFP), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Minority Front (MF), Congress of the People (COPE) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). DA Chief whip John Steenhuisen was among the panelists. He said the DA is the only party that is empowering citizens. He said: "The DA is the only party that can deliver real change in South Africa. We’ve shown that in the Western Cape we deliver services. We focus on getting the basics right.”

 

Youth development, racism, equality, economic freedom and more were cited by citizens as issues that need to be addressed urgently by government.

 

When briefly unpacking his party’s manifesto MF youth leader Jonathan Annipen said: “The MF distances itself from ethnic politics and policies.” He said if elected, the MF would “scrape all racist policies like Black Economic Empowerment.” EFF head of policy, research and political education Jackie Shandu said capitalism is racist and undermines Africans. “If we want to create a new dawn in South Africa we must stand for the attainment of economic freedom through nationalisation. Power resides with whiteness, we have to change that". PAC representative Mandla Luthuli said questionable things like Africans were no longer able to be African because if a person was African and loved his people he was seen as racist. In a question and answer session, one citizen asked: “How are you going to hold leaders accountable if they are failing us as the people?”. IFP spokesman Joshua Mazibuko answered. He said: “IFP councilors must hold meetings and participate in them. We will monitor our officials every day of the week.”