Prior to May 7 – as South Africans waited in anticipation for the 5th national elections – politicians took to the streets, doing what they do best: campaigning. They delivered food parcels, went door-to-door and even kissed babies. As you would expect, a lot of promises were made.
On election day, it came as little surprise that the ANC walked away with an overwhelming, but reduced, majority of 62.15%. The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) went over the four-million-votes milestone and scored 22.23% of the votes. While the new radical kids on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters got 6.35%.
Six months on, we take a look at the key promises of the aforementioned parties’ manifestos to see just how much they have delivered on the promises, so far.
One of the key focus areas in the ANC’s election manifesto is fighting crime and corruption. Earlier this month, Netwerk24 revealed that our president himself – Jacob Zuma – is being investigated for charges of corruption relating to his Nkandla homestead. A number of political parties laid the corruption charges against him at various police stations across South Africa after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report ‘Secure In Comfort’ – popularly referred to as the Nkandla Report. Police spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale revealed that the investigation is being headed by Lt-General Vinesh Moonoo. Moonoo is that same man that was in charge of investigating Reeva Steenkamp’s murder.
In addition to all that, the country recently lost our national football squad captain, Senzo Meyiwa, in what many deem a senseless crime. According to crime statistics released by the South African Police Service on September 19, for the first time in six years there has been an increase in both the number and rate of murders and attempted murders. There has also been an increase in the number of recorded sexual offences.
This has not been a good start to Zuma’s second term, especially when it comes to fighting crime and corruption.
Shifting focus from the ruling party to the opposition – it is quite difficult to judge the progress of the opposition parties based on their election manifestos. This is because election manifestos outline what any given party would do if they were to come into power, which the opposition parties obviously have not.
Although they have been unable to fulfill their manifesto proposition of nationalising mines and taking land without compensation, due to not being in power, the EFF has remained true to their promise of unsettling the ANC. This has been made evident through their recurrent and highly publicised controversies in parliament. Having first ruffled feathers by showing up to parliament’s swearing in ceremony in bright red miner and domestic worker uniforms; they first truly disrupted parliament on August 21st during a question-and-answer session with President Zuma.
They brought proceedings to a complete halt after refusing to stop shouting that Jacob Zuma must “PAY BACK THE MONEY” that was used for the security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead as recommended by the Public Protector. This has lead to a decision by President Zuma to avoid taking direct questions from the opposition in parliament, which still stands, until Julius Malema and his supporters have been “tamed.”
Although the DA manifesto’s key focus was creating more jobs, they too placed a strong focus on fighting crime and corruption. We have seen some promising signs on this front. After a five-year-long court battle to get access to the infamous “spy tapes,” victory finally came on September 5 when the tapes were handed over to the DA at the Pretoria High Court.
The questions on everybody’s minds however, are: What now? What happens next? Do these tapes reveal information that provides sufficient grounds to reinstate the corruption charges withdrawn against Jacob Zuma by the NPA back in 2009?
Well, in a bid to get the charges against Zuma reinstated, the official opposition party’s federal chairperson, James Selfe filed a supplementary affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court on 7 November.
After analysing transcripts of the spy tapes, the party has concluded that there was “no real connection” between the information contained in the transcripts and the decision to withdraw the charges against Zuma by Mokotedi Mpshe announced in 2009. Mpshe, who is the former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) announced the withdrawal of charges against Zuma citing a political conspiracy against the president between former Scorpion boss Leonard McCathy and former NDPP head Bulelani Ngcuka.
These are positive and encouraging signs by the DA in their bid to combat crime. Given the fact that it has only been six months since the elections, I would say that it is still very early to judge the parties. It would also be very premature to conclude whether or not they have or have not done enough. Still, the tone has been set and there is evidence of how the parties will engage for the rest of Jacob Zuma’s second and final term as President of South Africa.
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