For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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As much as the ANC is under pressure from all opposition parties, an intense, unled competition among the opposition parties provides reprieve for the ruling party, writes Ralph Mathekga.
just under a month left before the May 8 elections, voters are
confronted with the serious challenge of processing larger quantities of
information than has ever been the case before.
can be no doubt that there is currently more access to information than was the
case during the previous elections. More people have access to mobile phones and
information traffic has increased across society. To make the picture more
interesting, there is even false information, or fake news, doing the rounds
about a variety of issues.
increased number of political parties competing in the elections also increases
information traffic. According to the Electoral Commission's tally, there are
48 parties competing in the forthcoming elections. This is 19 more than
recorded in the 2014 elections. If it was confusing for voters to decide which
party to vote for in 2014, imagine what it's like now with 19 more choices
added to the picture.
are so many options for voters that it might be difficult to decide which party
deserves a vote. All the competing parties see themselves as different from the
lot. Each is claiming to provide the freshest ideas on how to get South Africa
is also interesting about the 2019 elections is that political parties have
generally campaigned against each other; whilst they all have positioned themselves
against the governing ANC. In other words, there is competition within the ever-growing
opposition camp among all the parties there on the one hand, and a broader
competition between the opposition parties and the ANC as the governing party.
much as the ANC is under pressure from all opposition parties, an intense, unled
competition among the opposition parties provides reprieve for the ruling
party. When opposition parties are competing amongst each other, the net effect
is that the ANC is spared a coherent opposition. Thus, the ANC is faced only
with a fragmented multitude of opposition voices that are too diverse to bear
impact on the governing party's electoral base. The opposition voices are so
diverse that they ultimately cancel each other out.
problem with such an information overload is that it creates difficulties for
voters when it comes to which information should be treated more seriously when
deciding how to vote.
is no doubt that an informed voter is more likely to make an informed vote. The
problem emerges when information is just too much to be processed meaningfully;
particularly where such information used to be scarce.
voters are confronted with a complex set of information coming from a multitude
of voices, chances are they will disengage from the exercise of processing the
necessary information. When voters are confused, the safest option is to resort
to decisions they had made in the past. In relation to the elections, this
means people will simply resort to old choices or won't make a choice at all.
important to remember that people are not professional voters; they have other
preoccupations in life and they generally don't want to engage in a lengthy
exercise of processing information about political parties. If information
presented to voters is not simple to process, voters tend to disengage and use
the easily available formula: vote for the party you voted for in the previous
is what happens when a political system provides choices without clearly
articulated alternatives. What makes things even more complex for voters is that
the information about political parties does not help voters to identify
alternatives. I wonder if the alternatives really exist in the May 8 elections,
despite 48 choices that are presented in the form of political parties
contesting the elections.
spare a thought for people who will be voting on May 8. It must be very
difficult to deal with all of this.
- Ralph Mathekga is a political analyst and author of When Zuma Goes and Ramaphosa's Turn.Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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