The 2014 South African elections are shaping up to be some of the most interesting since the first general elections in 1994. As a South African, the upcoming elections will hopefully mark the continued development of a healthy democracy and I am excited to see how it turns out.
A little about myself before continuing, as my background might lend to the continued commentary I will be creating in this space and might help you, the reader, to better understand where I am coming from. I am a 24-year old white South Africa. I make the distinction of my race not because I feel it defines me but because for many the race of the commentator often dictates how they view the commentary.
I was born in a small farming town and have been educated to a tertiary level attaining my Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand. I feel that my background lends to viewing situations from a relatively neutral point of view, but that might just be me thinking more of myself then is actually true.
To begin with in this post I would like to comment to two of recent additions to the South African political landscape, Agang and the EFF. This will be the first of many posts leading up to the 2014 elections, so keep tuned for more.
Agang was founded by Mamphela Ramphele on 18 February 2013. The name Agang is a Sotho word meaning “to build”. In their Launch Declaration, the founder members of Agang stated their determination to “restore the values that are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; human dignity, equality and freedom.”
Although the party has an intelligent, educated leader in Mamphela Ramphele they have all but failed to ignite any sort of following since their launch in mid-February of this year. The party and its leadership seem unable to attract the vast majority of poor uneducated South Africans. Although this is the party I most associate with I do feel as though they will be unable to make any significant impact on the South African political scene for many years to come.
The EFF was founded by Julius Malema in 28 July 2013. At a press conference at the party’s launch, Malema announced that the party already had 1000 member, double the required 500 members. This birth is indicative of the party’s rise with its popularity numbers exploding since its launch in July. As a party, the EFF poses the largest threat to the ANC’s upcoming election hopes directly canvassing the ANC’s support base.
With these two additions there has been a complete shift in the choice the average South African has. They seem to have given an extra paradigm of political ideals to relate to, a situation that we can be proud of, a situation that is a sign of healthy democracy.
If you would like to continue this conversation or weigh in, on what I should tackle next follow me on Twitter. My handle is: AndrewParsonson.
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