Top Stories to watch in 2014

2014-01-01 18:05

The year 2013 was rather eventful with the false alarms of Nelson Mandela’s passing and eventually passing away towards the end of the year. The past year was filled with many depressing news of women and babies being killed and raped. The likes of Anene Booysen, Reeva Steenkamp, mutilated toddlers in Diesploot and a six-week old baby raped by his uncle. On the political front parties like Agang SA, Economic Freedom Fighters and Patriotic Alliance were formed to add some colour to our political spectrum.  The year 2014 will no doubt be more riveting and exciting since we are celebrating 20 years since our democratic nation was born in 1994. These are some of the top stories that will be hogging the headlines in this election year of 2014:

Oscar Pistorius trial

How the mighty have fallen! The Oscar Pistorius trial is set to start in March 2014 and it will no doubt be enthralling to watch. The international media will be watching how our judicial system will be tackling such a case. I for one am looking forward to seeing Senior Council Advocate Barry Roux in action against the NPA. Either way, I hope that the trial is fair and the truth does eventually come out when this whole case is over.

Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup

It feels like it was only yesterday when I attended the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was hosted here in South Africa. Simphiwe Tshabala scored the first the opening goal at Soccer City in a match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico. No doubt “Phillip” was here in South Africa; now “Phillip” will be in Brazil from 11 June-11 July 2014. It is such a great pity that South Africa didn’t qualify to participate in the tournament.

E-Tolls saga

The e-tolls debacle will be hogging the headlines in 2014 as SANRAL continues to threaten and lie to motorists who refuse to buy an e-tag. The real effect of e-tolls will only be felt at the end of Jan/Feb 2014 when more and more people begin to receive their e-toll bills. Most importantly, it will be interesting to watch the first case of an “e-tolls delinquent” that refuses to pay and taken to court by SANRAL.

Recalling/Resignation of President Zuma

By the end of January towards the beginning of February 2014 the full Nkandla report of the “Security Upgrade” of President Zuma’s Nkandla homestead should be made public by the Public Protector. The ANC has proven in December 2013 when it released the security cluster ministry Nkandla report that they will be sticking by President Zuma. No matter how bad or damning Adv Thuli Mandonsela’s report on Nkandla, Zuma will not resign or be recalled by the ANC.  President Zuma doesn’t plan to leave office anytime soon; as a matter of fact Cyril Ramaphosa will not be president of the ANC or the country. The ANC has become a regional party based in KwaZulu-Natal and its powerbase lies there. Most of the NEC members of the ANC are Zuma loyalists and Dr Zweli Mkhize former KZN Premier is being groomed to take over the reins from Zuma and be the next president of the ANC and ultimately of the country. Do yourself a favour in 2014, shift your focus from Cyril Ramophosa and watch Dr Zweli Mkhize as he is the KZN man lead to the ANC after Zuma.

Zuma Spy Tapes

In 2009, the then acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe announced just before the election that the 783 count of fraud and corruption charges against Jacob Zuma would be withdrawn. President Jacob Zuma’s legal costs to keep the so-called spy tapes away from the Democratic Alliance have cost the taxpayer more than R2.3m, paid to his attorney Michael Hulley. I personally doubt that such “spy tapes” really do exists. When it is uncovered that these “spy tapes” don’t really exist it would mean that President Zuma, the NPA and the National Intelligence Agency lied to the nation time and time again and heads will need to roll as we will never trust these institutions ever again. 2014 might be the year when the farce behind these so called spy tapes is exposed.

IEC highest voter turn out

There are currently 24 112 414 registered voters according to the IEC. The second voter registration drive is expected to take place on 08-09 February 2014. The 5th democratic elections in South Africa are expected to have an exceptionally high voter turnout. The highest recorded voter turnout was in 1994 when over 19million South Africans took to the polls. In 2014, there should be at least over 20million South Africans that will go out to cast their votes as there are more options and everyone should at least have a political party that they indentify with in the upcoming elections expected to be held anytime between April-July this year.

ANC losing support

The ANC has been enjoying a percentage average of above 60% since the dawn of democracy in 1994. The days of a two-thirds majority for the ANC are now over. In the 2009 general elections the ANC’s percentage margin decreased in every province except for KZN due to the “Zuma effect.” In 2009, the ANC achieved a staggering 65.9% but in the 2014 general elections they will drop below the 60% mark and will continue to plummet from that drop. The ANC is caught between a rock and a hard place. South Africans are “gatvol” with Zuma and some people who voted for ANC will not vote for the ANC again in 2014. This will cause the ANC’s majority to drop. At the same time if the ANC decides to recall Zuma (which is not going to happen) there would be an upheaval in KZN where the ANC enjoys the strongest support. Not to mention that there would be confusion across the country as who would lead the ANC and this will cost the ANC votes just 3 months before an election.  Whatever happens from here the ANC will find itself sitting below 60%.

Democratic Alliance (DA) losing support

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has made steady gains in the past couple of elections. But this is about to end in 2014. It is hoping to secure around 30 per cent of the vote at 2014 general election, compared with 16.6 per cent in the national poll of 2009 and 24 per cent at local polls in 2011. With a high voter turnout expected of about 20 million voters, the DA will need to get at least 6 million votes to get that 30% it is hoping to get. That is statically impossible as they secured 3 047 649 votes in 2011. Where does the DA think it will get another new 3 million gullible voters from? At best the DA will get 3.5-4 million votes and it will get just below 20% compared to the 24% they got in 2011. Remember a higher voter turnout does not work in favour of the DA. The DA got 24% in 2011 simply because there was a 62% voter turnout in those elections. 2014 will be hotly contested with newly formed political parties in the scene and the DA is unlikely to maintain that 24% let alone 30% that is dreaming to attain.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Patriotic Alliance (PA) surprise package

Malcolm X has once warned us that the media is so powerful that it has the power to make the innocent look guilty and the guilty look innocent; he terms it the most powerful tool in the world. No doubt the EFF has been vilified in the media and most political pundits have predicted that Julius Malema’s EFF will get between 1%-3%. The media has completely written off EFF’s political fortunes but instead believe that the Democratic Alliance and Agang SA will be serious contenders. The 2014 elections will reveal that EFF will get no less than a double figure percentage surprising many people.

Another newly formed political party that has not been having it easy in the media is the Patriotic Alliance (PA) under the leadership of Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene. It has been coined as the “Gangster Party” since it was founded by ex-convicts and people believe that no one in their right mind would vote for such a party. Gayton McKenzie (President of PA) once told Sakina Kamwendo on Metro FM Talk that the party has over 333 000 registered members around the country. Gayton McKenzie has also reiterated the fact that there are over 200 000 prisoners in South Africa who have a right to vote and they will be courting them and will in no doubt vote for them. The PA will shake things up in the Western Cape. EFF and PA will be king makers in that province and there is a huge chance that the DA will not get an outright majority. That is a big story to look out for in 2014.

Political violence and intolerance

Leading up to the elections we are bound to see more cases and casualties of political violence.  The ANC has been accused by Agang SA and EFF is disrupting their political meetings and also double booking venues that these parties have occupied. In KZN political meetings that are held by the EFF are closely guarded by the police to avoid clashes with the ANC. These political wars are expected to increase with the ANC’s fears of losing power. The ANC used to disrupt COPE meetings and it is doing the same for EFF and Agang SA.

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