Lee Molefi

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The countdown is on. May 7 is only two paydays, 64 sleeps and approximately 1536 hours away.    Naturally, we’ve seen a hive of political activity in recent days with the highlight being the release of the DA & EFF’s election manifestos two weekends ago. The cards have been shown friends, and with the ANC having released […]

The countdown is on. May 7 is only two paydays, 64 sleeps and approximately 1536 hours away. 


Naturally, we’ve seen a hive of political activity in recent days with the highlight being the release of the DA & EFF’s election manifestos two weekends ago. The cards have been shown friends, and with the ANC having released their manifesto in January, we now have a clearer idea of  why we would or would not vote for any of the Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighters or the ANC among others. Rejoice! Agang SA has promised to release an election manifesto too some day but, well, they may change their minds about that. Soon after the EFF & DA released their “promises”, the Shilowa-faction of COPE and the UDM were kind enough not to kiss and stare awkwardly at each-other when they announced that they would “merge” for the upcoming elections. Apparently Mbhazima wasn’t COPE-ing at the Mosiuoa Lekota-led COPE. Interesting times ahead.

So, now that we know that the parties want to build toilets, beat corruption and – in the EFF’s case – double some people’s salaries, what were some of the most glaring omissions from their election manifestos for you? Why should YOU vote for them? What are the EFF and DA’s policies focused at and how do their propositions compare to the ANC’s own set of promises launched in January in Nelspruit? Let’s find out. 

EFF banner

Waiters, miners and domestic workers rejoice! Never fear! Julius is here!

The newspapers and opinion-makers have been unanimous – the EFF offered all 50 000 people present at it’s election manifesto launch in Tembisa false hopes of a pseudo-utopia SA that is far-fetched and unattainable. Big whoop. Being the populist that he is however, Malema isn’t concerned – it’s not Justice Malala’s vote he hopes for. The fundamentalist, popular policies Malema proposed in Tembisa aren’t geared at earning the EFF the right to run the country, but rather at getting the party the votes it needs to get into parliament. Julius Malema is as certain that he can’t win the 2014 general election as he is certain that his only goal is to gain significant influence in parliament. Would this be useful? Perhaps. An opposition party to the ANC that is black, pro-poor with a strong ideological base seems a golden prospect for those eager to ensure SA doesn’t become a one-party state and equally for those happy to have a party that highlights the leftist agenda and consistently exposes South Africa’s inequality shortfalls at parliamentary level. While many have suggested the EFF is perhaps since COPE in 2009 the first black opposition party that can swing votes from the ruling party in significant volumes, the question now becomes: are they credible? Whether or not the EFF can be trusted with your vote is greatly debatable. Why? However relevant and resonant some of their propositions are, their public image must contest with the fact that their leader faces charges of fraud and corruption & neither he nor most of his “fighters” have a public service record to reference where matters of leadership and implementation are concerned.

50 000 supporters showed up to the stadium to witness the day Julius Malema became a politician, and if they were also looking for a bit political theater, they got it. Shortly after a joke and before exploding into his promise-laced speech, Malema outlined the EFF’s seven core principles which read that the EFF will mobilise toward the…

1. Expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution. 2. Nationalization of Mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation. 3. Building State and government capacity, which will lead to abolishment of Tenders. 4. Free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation. 5. Massive protected industrial development to create millions of sustainable jobs including Introduction of minimum wages in order to close the wage gap between the rich and the poor. 6. Massive development of the African economy and advocating for a move from reconciliation to justice in the entire continent. 7. Open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimization by State agencies.

“We will win this election. But people don’t know politics, to win doesn’t mean 2/3 majority. But to gain 20% of the vote and become the kingmaker. And if anyone wants to talk, we’ll listen. If Helen wants to talk we’ll say: Madame, are you happy to expropriate land without compensation?” – Julius Malema

In a country with a population of 50 million – 24.1 of which are unemployed & most of which align their politics according to racial identity while living in a wildly unequal society, Malema’s every word was solid gold. The 34-year commander-in-chief on the EFF he has no public service experience but you can be certain that many will vote for him. The question now becomes, how many? Are you one of them?

The EFF’s main focus?

Land reform, economy, inequality, unemployment.

The EFF’s targets? –

– Impose a minimum wage for labor workers

– Expropriate and redistribute land

– Make EVERY job permanent

DA banner

Does no land reform policy exist within the DA? According to the City Press, the issue is now being discussed more urgently within its Federal Executive Committee because it would be “foolhardy” not to.  We look forward to finding out what their ideas on the matter are. On a sunny morning in Polokwane, Limpopo two weeks ago, the DA announced its 2014 elections manifesto with a set of key policies that haven’t shifted far from what their general political outlook has been for a long time. Compared to 2009, has the DA undergone much of a notable transition? It seems only cosmetic. While white people no longer go to DA rallies in numbers or wear DA shirts like they did in the days of Tony Leon, black people now do. Will the DA now finally grasp the racial frustration many black people experience in the workplace today? Or acknowledge the frequent occurrence of racism in DA-led Cape Town and how land reform is a confusing yet critical issue most 50 million South Africans would appreciate clarity on? It doesn’t seem so.

When asked about racism in CT in an ANN7 interview after their launch, Helen claimed that she’d been to many restaurants in Cape Town where black and white people eat together. However simplistic, that would fantastic news if this were 1960’s Alabama but in South Africa 2014, racism is far more covert and most black people don’t earn as much as their equally-qualified white counterparts so Helen, what’s the deal on racism? What’s the deal on race? In an unfortunate, ironic effort to participate in a “non-racial” society,  the DA have always tried to sweep it under the carpet, making them appear insensitive and out of touch with a key issue that so greatly affects their image as well as the historical and present-day context of the people they claim to so truly care about – all South Africans. Their manifesto hardly helps clear things up too. Since Helen Zille assumed leadership of the party in 2007, the party has worked hard at positioning itself as a true political embodiment of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy.

Has it succeeded? Yes and No. The DA have a realistic set of policies that you can be certain are coherent in thought and would be well-presented in parliament, they’ve retained a strong stance against the Secrecy Bill and are always vocal against corruption. Not a bad vote but the DA is some way from being a true embodiment of Nelson Mandela. Not when they don’t take up a strong position when addressing matters of race and don’t have a defined, well understood agenda when it comes to black economic empowerment & land reform. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for the ANC for any reason, the DA is worth a very good look at.

The DA’s core propositions are –

– Land reform policy that prioritizes food security

– Privatize “inefficient” pastorals

– Having members of public witness tender the rewarding processes to boost transparency

– introduce 250 000 police officers to beat crime

“Everybody knows land reform is riddled with corruption, is completely inefficient and has not succeeded in getting the land back to people who have a right to it nor in retaining the productivity of the land. An economist and an agricultural economist have estimated that we’ve spent 58% (corruptly) of what it would cost to buy South Africa’s farmland for failed land reforms. That goes to show you how inefficient our government is.” – Helen Zille

The DA’s focus

Crime, the economy, corruption

The DA’s targets

–  Save R30 billion per year by cutting corruption and firing corrupt officials (firing ANC members?)

–  Introduce a constituency-based electoral system to make MPs more accountable

– Make communities safer by putting 250 000 properly trained police officers on the streets

– Break up inefficient state monopolies, and distribute shares to ordinary citizens, to increase competition and bring down prices (privatization?)

– 6 million “real” jobs



The ANC wants to introduce a 14-year schooling curriculum, end corruption, boost the economy and keep Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president for the next five years. That’s not all – they also brought a cake to their manifesto launch. A big cake. Your thoughts? Simply put, the ANC will continue to lead South Africa on a similar path to the one the party’s taken over the past twenty years. Or should we say five years? Though Jacob Zuma emphasizes strongly on the achievements of Nelson Mandela & Thabo Mbeki in his manifesto letter, the Secrecy Bill, Nkandla, eTolls and the slowing down of the economy during his term as president seem to alienate him from any of his predecessors’ presidential terms rather than afford him any of their credibility. The most notable achievement of Zuma’s term however, has certanly been the appointment & success of health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.

With Motsoaledi’s effective, efficient ministry, Zuma’s administration has been far better at tackling HIV/AIDS than any of Mbeki’s or Mandela’s. Since 2009, 500 000 new patients have been on antiretroviral treatment and HIV/Aids-related deaths have been reduced by 50% to less than 270 000. This, however, is mirrored by among others scandals, the Nkandla debacle for which Zuma is under investigation for allegedly spending R200 million worth tax-payers money to renovate his family homestead in KZN.

A vote for the ANC is a tricky one – do you go with the the devil you know or give somebody else a chance? The ANC have been consistent in all they’ve done, the good and the very bad, so you could choose to acknowledge their achievements or focus on the fact that they have been rocked by scandal after scandal for some time and ultimately, the dilution of the ANC’s influence in parliament may save the country from the Secrecy Bill, eTolls in most provinces and other such matters where most people feel like the ANC has lost its sense of accountability.

The ANC’s core propositions are –

– introduce a 14-year school curriculum 

– introduce a “tender board” that centralizes the awarding of tenders

The ANC’s focus

Education, corruption, business

The ANC’s targets

– 6 million jobs

– end corruption with establishment of tender board (who runs this board?)

– reform private health sector ” to improve government hospitals & cut costs”

“Give the ANC a resounding victory at this year’s general election and so that we can be able to continue our programme of building a better life for all. The ANC lives, the ANC leads. Together we move South Africa forward.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                     – Jacob Zuma


The core proposition of the ACDP’s manifesto is that family is the cornerstone of any society. They aim to bring a greater sense of morality to the consciousness of SA politics and suggest that a vote for them would be a vote against immorality, thus dealing a blow on the country’s corruption, crime and rape statistics. A stronger voice for a religious movement wouldn’t necessarily appeal to liberal rights groups but the ACDP has been consistent with their policy and outlook for a very long time. They’d like to reintroduce the Scorpions and “strengthen” the auditor-general, public protector, Special Investigating Unit, Asset Forfeiture Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The ACDP ‘s Focus?

Morality, Crime, Education, Family, Safety

The ACDP’s targets?

– Grow the economy by 7%

–  reintroduce the Scorpions and “strengthen” the auditor-general, public protector, Special Investigating Unit and other state justice agencies.

“Our policies aim to address these challenges (we face), restore dignity and investor confidence, and protect and strengthen families. Without these values, we will not see the restoration of the moral compass of our nation.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                       –  Kenneth Meshoe

So there you have it. It’s been a painstaking quest deciphering all the political language in these manifestos to understand what they’re “really saying”. But there you go. Your thoughts? Do any of these promises appeal to you? Are you voting for any of these parties?

That’s not all. We’ll bring you coverage of Agang SA, COPE, FF+ and the UDM’s manifesto launches too! Stick with us.

Still not sure what a manifesto is? Check our dummies guide here.

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