Will smaller political parties stand the test of 2014?

2013-11-03 14:00

Smaller opposition parties in the 2009 general elections lost support across the board.

Some of that support went to Cope, the new kid on the block, which scored a million votes in those elections. The DA also managed to pull some of those voters with the promise of a strong opposition.

Cope quietly had another anniversary this week. On Friday it was five years since the SA National Convention was held in Sandton and since it promised to be the start of the next big thing.

The gathering was convened by former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa and former ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota, with an invitation to the public to attend.

Cope’s founding conference was on December 16. Five years later Cope still has to hold its first post-founding conference, set for January 10 to 12.

Court battles about leadership between Shilowa and Lekota, and bad party management in Parliament and elsewhere, mean the party is now only a shadow of its former promise. Analysts reckon it will only attract between 1% and 3% of the vote next year, down from 7% in 2009.

In the meantime, two more promising parties were born this year, in time for the 2014 elections campaign: Agang, led by businesswoman Mamphela Ramphele, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

Parties headed by strong personalities, like the Independent Democrats (Patricia de Lille) and the United Democratic Movement (Bantu Holomisa), have attracted enough votes to get parliamentary seats in the past, but none of the smaller parties have been able to grow sufficiently to become serious national contenders.

Survivor South Africa

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