2019 National Elections – Your Political Parties

The date for the 2019 elections has been announced for the 8th of May. As you drive around, listen to the news and ponder the elections, the question of who to vote for arises.

You see their campaigns, but what values do they actually stand for? You hear them making promises, but what exactly do these promises mean? You’ve seen faces on posters, but who are they really?

Get your Facts Straight

There are various factors that you need to consider when choosing a political party to vote for. Did you know that there are 593 registered political parties in South Africa? Yup. That’s a whole bunch of parties that we know absolutely nothing about. As a responsible citizen, we need to make it our priority to be clued up about the various parties and choose the best party that we can get behind. For now, we’ll discuss and compare the top 4 contenders for the 2019 national elections.

But first, let’s get back to Basics

  • National and provincial elections

You need to vote for both your chosen national ruling party and your provincial ruling party. You can vote for the same party or you can choose a different party for each. This can be due to where you think each party would make the most difference and who aligns with your values. Keep both votes in mind while reading through the various political party values and drives.

  • How to choose a party

This is a really important consideration. How do you actually choose a party amongst the 593 parties? While wanting to choose a party that can make the biggest difference, you also need to ensure that your values align with theirs. That is one of the most essential factors to consider when choosing. So take note as you research!

  • Main topics in the political realm at the moment.

Land reform and land expropriation without compensation is one of the hottest topics right now. The EFF is one of the main driving forces behind this at the moment. Last year, current president Cyril Ramaphosa put together a team to handle all land reform claims and policies. At the State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year, not much was mentioned and it isn’t clear how it will be undertaken in the future. In the ANC’s policies, they state that they wish to accelerate land reform and provide greater support to farmers.

Corruption – Ramaphosa announced the anti-corruption units that he’s set up in the latest SONA speech. So far, he’s proven to be determined at exposing and defeating corruption in government and partners. This is essential to a well-run government and thriving economy and should be on your mind as you research who to vote for. We need a leader who will actively fight for a corrupt-free government. We also need a leader who isn’t caught up in corruption scandals himself.

Eskom. Been studying or working by candlelight lately? Eskom hasn’t been on top form recently and the country is starting to suffer major financial loss as a result. Steps have been taken, as stipulated by President Ramaphosa, to ensure that Eskom starts pulling up their socks.

Meet the top 4 Contenders for 2019

In this section, we’ll compare four policies (education, economy & unemployment, health, crime & corruption, conscience issues) and each party’s stance on them. Each party can and will have more than these five. As a responsible citizen with a particular interest in the various facets within government, you’ll need to research the various policies yourself. Since the below are summaries, you can do in-depth research into each too – the relevant links are provided.

African National Congress (ANC) (Click here)

[Download the ANC’s full manifesto]

Education:

Set structures in place to make early childhood development compulsory for 2 years prior to primary school for all children. Appoint qualified teachers, upskill them and hold them accountable. Replace and upgrade unsafe school building and sanitation facilities. Include poor and “missing middle” in free education. Implement mass apprenticeship programs across the economy.

Economy & Unemployment:

Their aim is to create 275 000 new jobs per year in partnership with the labour industry, businesses, and communities. They will also provide internship and training opportunities throughout the various sectors for young people. They’ll also set aside funds for new investments and to establish an Infrastructure Fund to improve the infrastructure throughout SA. Within the economy, they plan to allow all people the opportunity to share in profits and shares. They will also reduce the cost of data and enable more free WiFi.

Health:

The ANC aims to implement the National Health Insurance to standardise health care quality throughout the various demographics. They’ll train doctors and nurses more adamantly as well as fill vacant posts. They will double the amount of community health care workers within 5 years. As well as screen more people for TB and ensure that 90% or more HIV positive people are being treated.

Crime & Corruption:

Better train the police force to investigate and complete cases, improve the visibility of police presence in communities and target drug syndicates through the anti-gang units. Address gender-based violence as well as equip courts and police to support survivors of gender-based violence.

Conscience Issues:

Expand access to social security benefits and increase UIF coverage. Provide state land for people to build own homes. Improve and upgrade public transport. Establish projects to bring together economic nodes, housing, smart technology, and public transport. Prioritise provision of clean water and decent, safe sanitation.

Democratic Alliance (DA) (Click here)

[Read more about the DA]

Education:

The DA envisions implementing an education system that reflects the money invested into it by enabling stricter regulations for educational excellence, improving school management and teacher quality, promoting accountability, regularly reviewing the curriculum for international standards and creating an environment conducive to learning

Economy & Unemployment:

They’ve identified SA’s inflexible labour regime and lack of quality education as the main contributors to the low employment rate. Appropriate labour regulation must be accompanied by an economic policy that stimulates growth, an education and skills development system that empowers job seekers for labour market participation in a changing global economic landscape and social policies that facilitate access to job opportunities.

Health:

They’ve pledged to pursue adequate universal access to health care for citizens. Key to ensuring this is ensuring there is accountability in budget spending and implementation. They plan to make sure the current regional management model works correctly. They see the National Health Insurance as unnecessary with proper management of proper structures in the current infrastructure. They’re also going to drive community-based care more.

Crime & Corruption:

Ensure a properly equipped, trained and effective police force. A well-equipped justice system that has the resources to provide fair and speedy trials and that enforces appropriate punishment to guilty parties. Implement correctional services that offer effective rehabilitation to reduce crime in communities long term. They wish to create a culture where all citizens respect the law and obey it to ensure safety for all. 

Conscience Issues:

This should include access to health care and basic income security to ensure access to nationally agreed necessary goods and services. Protection must be primarily aimed at those who are not or cannot be employed to earn their own livelihoods. This includes the most vulnerable groups in society, namely children, the aged, people with disabilities and those who find themselves without jobs for long periods of time. It is clear that to ensure that the tax base can accommodate South Africa’s social protection system, we must continue to make it our first priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) (Click here)

[Download the full manifesto ]

Education:

The EFF’s overall pursuit is to introduce free decolonized education for all through introducing topics on indigenous knowledge, sovereignty, and economic freedom. They will also criminalize all parents who do not send their children to school. Free education will start from the age of 3 with ECD schooling all the way until a student’s first degree. They will also prioritise the building of new schools and the upgrading of schools

Economy & Unemployment:

Through adequate free education and employment opportunities, as well as stringent policies within the various sectors and industries in South Africa, the EFF aims to increase job employment, particularly for the youth and women. The intent on majority state-ownership and control within non-state-owned sectors.

Health:

The EFF will implement universal primary health care coverage, with a focus on decreasing infant mortality rates and increasing life expectancy. The will adopt a national health care policy and implement immunization and vaccination to cover ALL people by 2024. They will also upgrade and increase resource at all health facilities, including filling vacant posts.

Crime & Corruption:

In order to harness and abolish corruption, the EFF will governmentalise of services provided to and for the government. No private companies will be able to fulfill the functions and duties that the government ought to fulfill. They will increase the severity of punishment of those found guilty of corruption to a minimum of a 20-year sentence.

Conscience Issues:

The EFF has placed a major focus on gender, women and the LGBTQI communities. They want to eradicate gender-based violence and ensure safety and freedom for all. Different to its competition, they wish to reduce the number of people dependent on social grants. They also wish to safeguard the economic and social wellbeing of children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Based on these two factors, they will almost double the social grants provided to the above-stated groups. Along with this, they will provide facilities and resources to improve the quality of life of all peoples, for example, by providing free sanitary products to women across the country.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) (Click here)

Find more in-depth information.

 Education:

The IFP believes in pluralism (cultural diversity and richness) and therefore strives to implement this into the various facets of education, including the language of learning. They will upskill educators and principals and ensure a higher quality of education. They’re also advocates of discipline and authority within schools. 

Economy & Unemployment:

In each of the IFP’s policies, they place economic growth at the forefront of their efforts to improve living standards and stabilize the socio-political environment. They believe that private enterprise is essential to maximise economic growth. They will also support the development of special job create programmes to combat the high unemployment rate in South Africa. They’re also highly supportive of the current government’s Growth, Employment, and Redistribution (GEAR) programme.

Health:

Their focus lies in providing free primary health care to those most in need. They’ll also ensure that the private health sector aids in making sure all people receive primary health care, as is their human right. Along with primary health care, they’ll drive information and optimal levels of technology to promote knowledge on health as well as to promote evaluation and performance. Performance will be evaluated via peer review and will include relevant professional bodies. They’ll also ensure adequate training at all service levels.

Crime & Corruption:

No policy is specifically geared towards corruption specifically, however, each policy mentions corruption within its own context which demonstrates a holistic approach to overcoming and fighting corruption. With regards to the judicial and correctional services, they wish to localise each service by province and even further down to communities. They believe in an independent court system too. Their aim for correctional services would be to offer fair trials to all and use the various forms of punishments appropriately. Prison would be a form of rehabilitation and would be properly used for labour, incentives and caring for the inmates.

Conscience Issues:

The IFP does not believe that social grants are the answer, but rather an empowerment of the people. Qualifying for a social grant will entail more stringent means tests and tighter control on corruption. They also believe population control is a problem that should be investigated. They will use their Welfare Policy to better care for the young, the elderly and the disabled. They will also attempt to have tighter reigns on drug and alcohol abuse, adoption procedures and HIV and AIDs patients.

You can view and research the other parties by looking at the political party list.

What Happens with your vote?

After the elections, the IEC, an outside organization that handles the elections, will tally up the votes and announce the winners of the national and provincial elections. You can check out the 2015 results for interest. The total amount of votes each party gets will also determine how many seats they get on the National Assembly (they essentially have a say in all new laws being instated, etc), 50 000 votes will result in one seat.

Still Haven’t Registered? 

If you missed the registration weekend, you can still register. Find your nearest IEC office, set up an appointment and go register! Every vote counts. You have the responsibility to vote, if you don’t, you have no say about the results.

EduConnect 2Cents

Remember that doing research is essential to making an educated vote. Be sure that your values line up with the party that you choose. If you’re passionate about a social issue, enquire about any projects or plans they have to improve the social issue. Be an active citizen and reap the benefits of making wise decisions. Encourage those around you to do the same.