IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)
Johannesburg - New political parties formed ahead of the local government elections in August seem to reflect the strife, demands and aspirations of ordinary South Africans.
Voters could have as many as 124 new parties to choose from - on top of the 521 already officially registered nationally – if their candidate lists and elections requirements are in order.
Among those driven by the agenda for economic freedom, the Heavenly Economic and Political Freedom Programme – with its presumed help from above – is one of the most aspirational.
Hot on its heels is the World African Power United Kingdom Wealthiest and the Socialist Agenda of Dispossessed Africans, followed by the Land Claims Fighters, the Economic Growth Organisation, and the Isithunzi Som-Afrika Econo Fighters.
There are also the more revolutionary ones, like the Liberators Party, Socialist Radical Change, and the People’s Revolutionary Movement.
Service delivery features strongly in some of the names, including the Service Delivery Organisation, Service For All, Diensleweringsparty and the Forum 4 Service Delivery.
Civic-minded parties include: Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (Concerned Local Residents), Community Congress, Community Party, and the Independent Councillors.
There is one new special needs party, the Deaf Patriotic Front, and for active voters, the Independent Sport Party.
Many parties were formed with a specific community in mind, some from the Western Cape: the Witzenberg Aksie, United Franschhoek Valley, Knysna Unity Congress, Karoo Democratic Force, Kaap Agulhas Civic Organisasie, Eden Community Party, Langeberg Independent Party, and the Bitou Independent Party.
Others are based in Limpopo: the Tzaneen Freedom Party, Thabazimbi Residents Association, Limpopo Residents Association, Limpopo Rural Social Activist, Musina Community Party, and the Lebowakgomo Civic Organisation.
Some parties were named after municipalities that made the news over disputes: Sterkspruit Civic Association and Sterkspruit Development Forum, Sekhukhune Congress, Oudtshoorn Saamstaan, and the Civic Warriors of Maruleng.
There were parties catering for ethnic groups, such as the Minorities of South Africa, Die Bruin Stem van Suid-Afrika, Coloured Community Alliance, Coloured Voice, Khoisan Revolution, and the Zulu Royal Property.
Others were intended to appeal to conservatives, like the Nasionale Konserwatiewe Party van Suid-Afrika.
Fewer, perhaps, were the parties striving for social cohesion and harmony, such as the National People’s Ambassadors, Appropriate Mutual Understanding Patriotic Party, and Answer for Community.
The Christian United Movement S.A. (The Right Choice) makes clear that it is the party to vote for.
There seems to be much division amongst the "united" parties, eight of which start with that word, including the United Party, United People of South Africa, United Constructive Party, the United Democrats, and the United People’s Party.
The alliances include the Alliance for Democratic Freedom, Alliance of Democratic Congress, while the alternatives include the Alternative Democrats and the Alternative African Allegiance.
The new party names were published in the National Gazette this week. Thursday at 17:00 was the deadline for all parties to submit their candidate lists.