New political parties healthy - Duarte

2013-05-09 16:44
Jessie Duarte (File: Sapa)

Jessie Duarte (File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The formation of new political parties is good for the country, but many of them are being launched to challenge the ANC, the party's deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has said.

"My challenge to those political parties would be: why do you need to challenge the ANC?" Duarte told Sapa in an interview.

"Put your programme forward. Talk about what you can and want to do. Put forward what you want. Where is your plan? We have a plan," she said.

Since the beginning of the year three new political parties have been launched.

Author, activist, and businesswoman Mamphela Ramphele launched the political platform, Agang SA, in Johannesburg in February.

In March, workers in the mining sector started the Workers' and Socialist Party (Wasp).

The most recent launch was that of the African National Congress breakaway party, SA First, by expelled and former Umkhonto we Sizwe members last month.

None are registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) yet, but all intend contesting the 2014 national elections.

Duarte said it was healthy for the country to have people wanting to get involved in politics. In the first democratic elections in 1994, over 40 parties were registered.

"My only thing is go to the electorate," she said.

"Go and talk to the people. Don't make the ANC your platform. We have a platform and we are very confident about that platform. It exists, it's real, it's concrete and we've delivered."

The ANC stalwart said the party was not leaving any corner of the country untouched during its election campaign.

"Our campaign will have many different elements. It will be primarily direct contact with voter[s]... upfront, in your face, on the ground."

The ANC was currently consolidating its volunteers around the country.

On Sunday, Gauteng launched its 6 000 member Moses Kotane volunteer brigade.

Duarte said there were different elements to the party's campaign.

"It's important not to peak your campaign early. We're experienced in our campaign management.

"We run our campaign in phases and we are at early phases now. By the time we get to peak period, everybody will know."

Nothing perfect

Duarte said the ANC carefully tracked elections, including by-elections. The party had a record of every election since 1994. It knew every ward and how many registered voters there were.

Part of Duarte's job is evaluating and monitoring.

"Pre by-election, we would look at our own strengths, and irrespective of our strengths we'd go out on a campaign in a particular area. We always campaign.

"And post that, we always look at what caused a lack of people voting for the ANC," she said.

Duarte acknowledged that the ANC had lost some wards, but said this was mostly to independent candidates.

"In many instances, an independent would have been an ANC member [that] the community decided they didn't want any longer - or the ANC portion of the community - and the person has influence in the community and goes out and they work and they win."

The ANC recently lost a ward in Limpopo because the candidate residents wanted was not registered by the party's branch leadership.

Duarte said this problem often cropped up with branch leaders.

That was why, in 2011, the ANC told branches to nominate three people and then ask local residents which of the three they wanted registered. She said the ANC did analyses on candidates.

"We would know whether the candidate has a criminal record. If they do, they can't be registered. Are they under investigation by any state agency? Is there anything about them that might be a secret now which will come out?"

The ANC had a screening committee which vetted councillor candidates. There was a screening committee in every ward.

"The one thing to accept is nothing is perfect, and so even screening committees have made massive mistakes in some instances," said Duarte.

"But again, it's not the norm. It's one or two, so you can't generalise."

Read more on:    wasp  |  iec  |  agang  |  anc  |  mamphela ramphele  |  jessie duarte  |  politics

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