SA voters exhausted - analyst

2016-07-08 16:31
IEC voting station. (Elmarie Jack, News24)

Cape Town - South African voters have a difficult choice ahead of them this coming election, and the manifestos of the parties do not make it easier, political analyst Professor Cherrel Africa has said.

"Our journey in South Africa is a long journey. It's an ultra-marathon. We have run 5km of the ultra-marathon and we are exhausted. And yet there is still 85km to go and maybe we need a bit of a hand up to figure out the next kilometres," she said, referring to the country's journey since democracy.

The University of the Western Cape political studies deputy dean was speaking at a round table discussion held by the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office and the Hanns Seidel Foundation on the local government elections.

Talking about the different parties South Africans were faced with, she said there was a migration away from smaller parties and that that trend would continue.

But South Africans were faced with difficult choices in the bigger parties, which included the African National Congress, Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters.

South Africans felt a deep sense of betrayal from the ANC, there was a lot of distrust about the DA and a sense of unease about the EFF, she said.

Not voting bad for democracy

"There are many voters who look at what is happening nationally in the ANC, and feel betrayal. For them, the dream has become a nightmare. With the DA, for many voters, the narrative is highly flawed and there is a deep sense of deep distrust," she said.

She said the voters looking at the EFF nationally, including in Parliament, felt unease about the party, worrying that it would "run the country to ashes".

But opting out and not voting was not an option and would not be good for democracy, Africa said.

In the pre-election campaign period, parties were incapable of hearing each other out, she said, but needed to work together to restore trust.

She also called for South Africans to make a difference where they could and not wait for political parties.

"Right now, we are not in a good space."

Post-election violence

Africa said while political parties had some good ideas in their manifestos, they only used them to campaign.

They, however, did not have to be in power to achieve some of the promised changes, including more township businesses, she said.

The professor hinted at the possibility of post-election violence as an example of where political parties had to stand up and work together.

No one party had the solution, she said.

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