ivotela i-?

ivotela

It’s three days until the elections (well, it was when I started, now it’s one day…), and there’s still no Green Party to vote for, so, to help out, here’s my detailed analysis of every party to help make your decision.

Voting ranks slightly below picking up a cigarette stompie (cigarette butts for those from further afield) in terms of the benefit provided. Removing a single stompie makes a difference. Perhaps that earthworm that was about to surface there has now avoided nicotine poisoning (at best). A single vote? Has a single vote in this sort of election made a difference, ever? No, but collectively at least, the impact is usually slightly larger.

Besides, elections are far more fun than talking about cigarette stompies. There are 29 parties standing in the national elections, and a further five standing only in the Western Cape. Here’s the full list available to me on the day:

  1. African National Congress
  2. Democratic Alliance
  3. Congress of the People
  4. Inkatha Freedom Party
  5. United Democratic Movement
  6. Freedom Front Plus
  7. African Christian Democratic Party
  8. United Christian Democratic Party
  9. Pan Africanist Congress
  10. Minority Front
  11. Azanian People’s Organisation
  12. African People’s Convention
  13. African Independent Congress
  14. Agang SA
  15. Al Jama-ah
  16. Bushbuckridge Residents Association
  17. Economic Freedom Fighters
  18. First Nation Liberation Alliance
  19. Front Nasionaal
  20. Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa
  21. Keep It Straight and Simple
  22. Kingdom Governance Movement
  23. National Freedom Party
  24. Pan Africanist Movement
  25. Patriotic Alliance
  26. Peoples Alliance
  27. Ubuntu Party
  28. United Congress
  29. Workers and Socialist Party
  30. African National Party
  31. Indigenous Peoples Organisation
  32. National Party South Africa
  33. Sibanye Civic Association
  34. South African Progressive Civic Organisation

How many of the 34 are even worth considering?

First, let’s knock off some low-hanging fruit, and top of the instant rejection list are the religious and ethnic parties. So, without further ado, there go the Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party, United Christian Democratic Party, Minority Front (all currently in parliament) as well as Al Jama-ah, the First Nation Liberation Alliance, Front Nasionaal, Patriotic Alliance, Peoples Alliance, Indigenous People’s Organisation, and the Kingdom Governance Movement. You can argue about just how ethnic or religious these various parties are, but it would just be a pointless debate about how instant their rejection would be, so let’s move on.

  1. African National Congress
  2. Democratic Alliance
  3. Congress of the People
  4. Inkatha Freedom Party
  5. United Democratic Movement
  6. Freedom Front Plus
  7. African Christian Democratic Party
  8. United Christian Democratic Party
  9. Pan Africanist Congress
  10. Minority Front
  11. Azanian People’s Organisation
  12. African People’s Convention
  13. African Independent Congress
  14. Agang SA
  15. Al Jama-ah
  16. Bushbuckridge Residents Association
  17. Economic Freedom Fighters
  18. First Nation Liberation Alliance
  19. Front Nasionaal
  20. Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa
  21. Keep It Straight and Simple
  22. Kingdom Governance Movement
  23. National Freedom Party
  24. Pan Africanist Movement
  25. Patriotic Alliance
  26. Peoples Alliance
  27. Ubuntu Party
  28. United Congress
  29. Workers and Socialist Party
  30. African National Party
  31. Indigenous Peoples Organisation
  32. National Party South Africa
  33. Sibanye Civic Association
  34. South African Progressive Civic Organisation

Next off the list go parties I know nothing about. First, the African National Party. If they can’t even get around to putting up a website (although perhaps R100 million for a quick blog has put them off), I’m not sure they’d be that good at getting around to things like reading bills and contributing to policy, or anything else to do with actual governing. With a name like ANP, a slightly too-clever fusion of ANC and NP, you can’t be too surprised that Googling turns up an endless links to the National Party and the African National Congress, and nothing about them. So even if they do actually have a website somewhere out there that they’ve neglected to give to the IEC, I can’t find it.

Honourable mentions in the misleading names department go the AMC (African Moderates Congress) with the Madiba-lookalike in 1994 (but they’re no longer around), and the Republican-Democrats, who sadly, in spite of predictions about storming to victory, didn’t quite make it to the ballot, and, standing this time, the National Party South Africa, no relation to the National Party.

Other parties I exclude as I either can’t find information about them, or they’re limited to extremely local issues and I can’t quite understand their presence on the national or provincial ballot, are the African Independent Congress (founded solely to contest Matatielie’s inclusion in the Eastern Cape rather than Kwazulu-Natal), Indigenous People’s Organisation, Sibanye Civic Association, Bushbuckridge Residents Association, Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa and the South African Progressive Civic Organisation

  1. African National Congress
  2. Democratic Alliance
  3. Congress of the People
  4. Inkatha Freedom Party
  5. United Democratic Movement
  6. Freedom Front Plus
  7. African Christian Democratic Party
  8. United Christian Democratic Party
  9. Pan Africanist Congress
  10. Minority Front
  11. Azanian People’s Organisation
  12. African People’s Convention
  13. African Independent Congress
  14. Agang SA
  15. Al Jama-ah
  16. Bushbuckridge Residents Association
  17. Economic Freedom Fighters
  18. First Nation Liberation Alliance
  19. Front Nasionaal
  20. Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa
  21. Keep It Straight and Simple
  22. Kingdom Governance Movement
  23. National Freedom Party
  24. Pan Africanist Movement
  25. Patriotic Alliance
  26. Peoples Alliance
  27. Ubuntu Party
  28. United Congress
  29. Workers and Socialist Party
  30. African National Party
  31. Indigenous Peoples Organisation
  32. National Party South Africa
  33. Sibanye Civic Association
  34. South African Progressive Civic Organisation

19 down, 15 to go.

Enough bullying of the smaller parties. Next off the list are the ANC. The once-proud liberation movement, instrumental in ridding us of apartheid, forgers of the Freedom Charter and the constitution, are sadly now better known for Marikana, Nkandla, the Arms Deal, and the feeding frenzy is only picking up pace.

Off the list too go Cope, whose leaders brought us one of the most remarkable meltdowns imaginable. Conspiracy theorists would say that either Shilowa or Lekota were an ANC plant to poison the new party, and, even if they weren’t, they couldn’t have done a better job of destroying the party with their bitter fight to be the big fish in a rapidly shrinking pond. With them too go the United Congress, the offshoot of the offshoot.

Matching Cope in the infighting stakes are the PAC. From the massive liberation movement in the 1960’s, once larger than the ANC, to the shambles of today.

Azapo, by contrast, hasn’t suffered from the same degree of infighting, and has coherent and well thought-out policies, some of them very good. Science and technology feature prominently in their thinking. However, while solar and wind get a mention, it is business as usual in the energy field. Perhaps most importantly, they are rooted in black consciousness, an understandable response to apartheid, but one that doesn’t match my non-racial dream of what liberation should be.

So, off the list with them, as well as similar or splinter parties such as the African People’s Convention and the Pan Africanist Movement.

Neither do I think government  should just get out of the way, and end to social grants etc, and so off the list go the libertarian KISS.

  1. African National Congress
  2. Democratic Alliance
  3. Congress of the People
  4. Inkatha Freedom Party
  5. United Democratic Movement
  6. Freedom Front Plus
  7. African Christian Democratic Party
  8. United Christian Democratic Party
  9. Pan Africanist Congress
  10. Minority Front
  11. Azanian People’s Organisation
  12. African People’s Convention
  13. African Independent Congress
  14. Agang SA
  15. Al Jama-ah
  16. Bushbuckridge Residents Association
  17. Economic Freedom Fighters
  18. First Nation Liberation Alliance
  19. Front Nasionaal
  20. Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa
  21. Keep It Straight and Simple
  22. Kingdom Governance Movement
  23. National Freedom Party
  24. Pan Africanist Movement
  25. Patriotic Alliance
  26. Peoples Alliance
  27. Ubuntu Party
  28. United Congress
  29. Workers and Socialist Party
  30. African National Party
  31. Indigenous Peoples Organisation
  32. National Party South Africa
  33. Sibanye Civic Association
  34. South African Progressive Civic Organisation

27 down, 7 left.

So, this is where I come out and endorse the EFF? Not quite. It’s great to have a party that is explicitly pro-poor. Whether their policies would actually help, and whether their leaders can be trusted to implement them, I’m not so sure.

So the Ubuntu Party then? If the election was based on outright support on my Facebook stream, they’d win a landslide. And no-one else is doing anything like as radical as questioning the private ownership of the Reserve Bank, looking to Iceland as a model to stand up to the banks, proposing massive social investment and employment creation through interest-free loans and focusing on organic food agriculture. I like much of their thinking. But, then it all falls to pieces as they propose free electricity for all based on free energy devices they’re convinced are being suppressed by the global energy elite and that they’ve ‘seen’ in action, but which somehow are not even running anyone’s pool pump yet, have controversial ex reserve bank director and Holocaust-denier Stephen Goodson as number two on their list, and base much of their policy on the sacred number three. Reliable evidence is not high on their agenda, but if you want to protest the system, you could do worse.

Ah, the system. So this is where I come out as a DA supporter. Efficient Cape Town and all that. Yes, in Cape Town you do get a more accurate electricity bill, and when I report an ancient pothole in the township of Philippi it gets fixed the next day. But you also get more efficient applications by shopping mall developers to demolish wetlands, more efficient extolling of the benefits of fracking, more efficient removals of homeless people. I don’t see South Africa’s massive levels of poverty and inequality being tackled by a slightly more efficient corporate-friendly system.

Right, Workers and Socialist Party then? Nationalise everything without compensation, no more private schools (sorry Dorje, it’s off to a class of 50 for you where you’ll learn to appreciate Pink Floyd’s The Wall), all production put to work towards the democratic socialist plan. And with the massive surpluses generated an R8000 basic income for the unemployed. My cross is poised, except that, while their analysis of the problems are reasonably accurate, their dated and failed solutions don’t leave me with much confidence.

Agang then? No to fracking, political party transparency, a focus on education and measures to combat corruption? At least while they bide their time before joining the DA? Her political leadership doesn’t inspire me, but many of the policies are broadly positive.

Bantu Holomisa and the UDM? Still going strong after being expelled from the ANC in 1996 for daring to testify at the TRC, and now gaining prominence by supporting the striking miners in the face of heavy government intimidation. Their manifesto (when I finally tracked it down on their website – the 2004 manifesto was far more prominent) is great at slamming government, and remarkably light on detail. And the UDM has shrunk into a party with a tiny footprint in a small part of the Eastern Cape after it’s birth as a merger between prominent ANC and NP (Roelf Meyer) members and its potential as a significant non-racial party, which doesn’t inspire much confidence.

So, finally, the last one left standing. The National Freedom Party! A breakway from the IFP by their chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, the party has seen significant growth, unlike the other IFP offshoots which have faded to nothing. Almost trumping the IFP in the 2011 local government elections, the party has been performing well in by-elections since, and seems to have a well-organised team on the ground. Their manifesto is pleasantly free of ideology and surprisingly clear, pro-poor and with a focus on practical solutions, which I like. It’s very easy to be right, not so easy to be helpful. Besides, I’ve always had a soft spot for orange. So, finally, after 33 rejections, my pen is poised!

Not so fast. They can’t quite shake off their tribal roots, with a section on empowering traditional leaders that raises a few questions, and a populist call for the death penalty.

  1. African National Congress
  2. Democratic Alliance
  3. Congress of the People
  4. Inkatha Freedom Party
  5. United Democratic Movement
  6. Freedom Front Plus
  7. African Christian Democratic Party
  8. United Christian Democratic Party
  9. Pan Africanist Congress
  10. Minority Front
  11. Azanian People’s Organisation
  12. African People’s Convention
  13. African Independent Congress
  14. Agang SA
  15. Al Jama-ah
  16. Bushbuckridge Residents Association
  17. Economic Freedom Fighters
  18. First Nation Liberation Alliance
  19. Front Nasionaal
  20. Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa
  21. Keep It Straight and Simple
  22. Kingdom Governance Movement
  23. National Freedom Party
  24. Pan Africanist Movement
  25. Patriotic Alliance
  26. Peoples Alliance
  27. Ubuntu Party
  28. United Congress
  29. Workers and Socialist Party
  30. African National Party
  31. Indigenous Peoples Organisation
  32. National Party South Africa
  33. Sibanye Civic Association
  34. South African Progressive Civic Organisation

So, none of the above? That simplifies things. Spoilt vote or abstain then? Sadly, as a tactic both just support the status quo, and at least some of the above parties could actually be better than that.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far, and I’m glad I could help clear things up. My final advice? Do something that makes you feel good about your civic contribution and pick up some stompies on your way to the polls (or the beach) on Wednesday.

Related posts:

2 Replies to “ivotela i-?”

  1. Great post!

    A combination of past apathy and trying personal circumstances have prevented me from voting ever since placing my mark for change in the 1983 referendum.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_constitutional_reform_referendum,_1983)

    But since last year I’m a registered, tax paying voter back on the radar with a clean SARS slate, a fresh ID book (and passport!) and a morbid obsession with our global death-drive into “thanatopolitics” that is mirrored as clearly in my own excesses as it is in Zuma and his toadies.

    So, as a voter registered in the particular UDM stronghold you mention, and having lived through Bantu Holomisa’s reign over the Transkei and experiencing his competence and integrity first-hand; it’s difficuilt to decide – knowing that the UDM will be the toothless victor of this region of the Wild Coast with or without my vote – whether to vote for them, or for either of the next least unpalatable choices on my plate: Agang or the DA.

    Cope could have been a contender, but I’m of the conspiracy theorist mind-set about the inside job. Conspiracy or not, Shiloa has endorsed, and pledged his faction, to the UDM – so I don’t think it was him! ;p

    Cadre deployment is an evil beast, and the chickens will come home to roost (Cyril).

    Anyway, Agang is a no hoper and wasted vote. And the wetlands mall project was successfully opposed as far as I recall, and the power will forever remain in our individual and, more importantly, collective hands to prevent fracking and strip mining of other fragile biospheres. So the pro-business aspect of the DA is not something I’m entirely uncomfortable with. At least you know you’re dealing with mostly rational people.

    And even with that being said, I think people underestimate the extent of Buyelekhaya’s influence in the region renowned as the homeland of Mandela, Hani, Tambo, and the Mbeki family, amongst others. Combined with the wildcards of Numsa, AMCU and the (possibly) millions of disaffected miners and their families in the Transkei – we may just see the ANC dive below 50%.

    Still can’t decide exactly which way to vote, but I pray THAT comes about.

  2. Thanks I needed that.

    I guess it is a matter of the least of the evils…

    I will decide tomorrow whether I will trek to Pinelands where I am registered from the deep South.

Comments are closed.