Opposition race neck and neck

2009-01-26 00:00

Cape Town — The race to become South Africa’s official opposition will be a neck and neck race between the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People, according to independent political analyst Harald Pakendorf.

In an interview with Cape Talk Radio yesterday, Pakendorf predicted that, if attendance figures at the recent party manifesto launches are anything to go by, the DA and Cope will have a close battle for second position in South African politics.

Cope launched its manifesto to a crowd of nearly 30 000 in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, promising to fight corruption, create jobs, fight poverty and crime and improve education and health. The new party also pledged to change the electoral system and have the president and other officials directly elected.

The party also wants to bring back the Scorpions.

Besides the usual promises on crime, corruption and free education, the United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa told 5 000 people in Johannesburg the party wants to bring back the Scorpions and ensure there is a judicial commission of enquiry into the arms deal.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressed three thousand supporters over the weekend, promising that it would declare HIV/AIDS a national emergency and step up the roll-out of anti-retroviral drugs.

Pakendorf said the ANC’s promise to focus on rural development would prove to be an expensive exercise.

The ANC, which unveiled its election manifesto earlier this month, promised to build more houses for the poor and raise the cut-off age for child support grants from 15 to 18, as well as do away with school fees at 60 percent of schools and feed all poor pupils free of charge.

“I don’t think any of these parties can deliver as promised. There simply isn’t enough money to go around,” Pakendorf said.

“We have seen some wonderful policies coming out in the past 15 years, but to make them work on the ground is difficult. For instance, in SA we spend more per capita on education than any other country but we don’t get the value.’’

Pakendorf said he predicts that Cope will make a bigger impression than any other party started in last 15 years in the election later this year.

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