Dr JCM Venter, lecturer at the School of Social and Government Studies at the North- West University, said in his article titled “The 2014 election: the need to participate and the major parties” that, “The democratic principle of contestation allows everyone the opportunity to now vote for or against their principles (and that of any other party) and this will make a difference especially as we stand in the era where the dominance of the ANC and therefore the one-party system in South Africa is beginning to falter.”

Making an informed decision when it comes to casting your vote may seem intimidating given the limited experience most students have when it comes to elections. Independent political analyst Nicholas Borain told Perdeby that the best way to establish which party you will be voting for is to, “Read the manifestos, listen to the speeches, examine the character and history of those who lead the party and ask yourself if you have specific interests that are better represented by one party more than any other.” He goes on to add that you should also consider national interests that are broader than your own personal interests when you make this decision.

Perdeby looked at the election manifestos of six major parties contesting the election.

Agang SA
Agang, led by anti-apartheid activist Dr Mamphela Ramphele, is a young party that was formed in February 2013. The name means “build” in Sesotho and according to AgangSA. org.za, Agang stands for a “clean government to restore the promise of freedom to all South Africans: equality, dignity and hope for all”. According to Borain, Agang presents itself as “a clear and articulate opponent to government corruption”.

ANC
The ANC, founded in January 1912, is the oldest party participating in the elections.

They have been the ruling party on a national level since 1994 and are currently being led by President Jacob Zuma. Their mission is to move South Africa forward as well as fight crime and corruption.

Cope
The Congress of the People, currently led by Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota, is a party that was formed in December 2008 by former ANC members. Their main objective is to “take political power at the polls and deliver better government to South Africa”.

DA
Lead by Helen Zille, the DA has been the official opposition to the ANC on a national level since the 1999 election (known then as the Democratic Party). The DA was founded in June 2000, and according to their website, they aim for an “open opportunity society in which every person is free, secure and equal, where everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of his life and pursue her dreams, and in which every language and culture has equal respect and recognition”.

EFF
Founded in August 2013 by expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, the EFF party seems to have divided ANC supporters. Borain said that, “The EFF is getting surprising traction and is fighting a vigorous and interesting campaign.” They aim to focus on revolutionary cultural values and to create conditions that ensure total political and economic emancipation.

VF+
Lead by Pieter Mulder, the Freedom Front Plus (Vryheidsfront Plus) was founded in March 1994. Their mission is to realise the rights of the Afrikaans community.

With the final list of political party candidates only being released on 22 April, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has more than 300 parties on their potential candidate list. It is because of this reason that you have to familiarise yourself with the major parties and their manifestos.

The importance of voting cannot be stressed enough. Though some people may experience feelings of apathy towards politics or elections, casting your vote contributes to the future of South Africa and gives you the opportunity to make your voice heard. By excluding yourself from voting you are rejecting your right to have a say in how South Africa is governed.

Who wants what

A quick guide to policies

 

Affirmative action

Agang SA
To amend discrimination and unfairness in the workplace and to enable white citizens to share their skills, expertise and wealth to build South Africa.

ANC
To strengthen the existing affirmative action laws for a faster transformation of the workplace and to strive for equal representation in the workplace according to population demographics.

Cope
To strengthen the application of affirmative action laws to include women, youth, and previously disadvantaged people from rural areas.

DA
To find a balance between affirmative action and equal opportunities for all, to improve BEE so that it rewards companies that invest in their workers and to create jobs.

EFF
To reinforce affirmative action laws to ensure that all previously disadvantaged citizens benefit and to prioritise the employment of people with disabilities, black people and women of all races.

VF+
To scrap affirmative action to ensure that employment is based on merit and not race.

Education

Agang SA
To improve training for teachers and to introduce a minimum pass rate of 50% for all subjects and all grades.

ANC
To make two years of pre-school education compulsory, to eradicate adult illiteracy and to open two new universities.

Cope
To establish a national literacy campaign and to increase the minimum pass rate.

DA
To educate more than 15 000 teachers per year and to ensure that every school has basic resources and services as well as to align education outcomes with workplace needs and to expand NSFAS assistance.

EFF
To offer free quality education funded by an education tax on corporations and to develop and expand tertiary institutions.

VF+
To provide mother-tongue education.

Employment

Agang SA
To emphasise skills training at school level, to establish skills development programmes and also fund on-the-job training.

ANC
To promote local procurement and to create six million job opportunities through job placement and internship schemes.

Cope
To support national development plans and to ensure that small and medium enterprises receive more support from government as well as to supply affordable loans to new enterprises.

DA
To attract investment in labour-intensive industries and to create seven million job opportunities through an expanded public works programme.

EFF
To secure industry development and to implement minimum wage. VF+ To actively restrict and prohibit strikes and to favour a wage subsidy.

Corruption

Agang SA
To implement a minimum sentence of 15 years for any public official found guilty of corruption and a lifetime ban from working in the civil service and to create a national register of corrupt officials and to ban these officials and their families from conducting business with the state.

ANC
To restrict public officials found guilty of corruption from conducting business with the state and to create individual liability for losses and to require ANC members guilty of corruption to step down from leadership positions.

Cope
To promote transparency.

DA
To allow the public to attend tender meetings and to prohibit the state from conducting business with someone who is guilty of corruption and to ban people who are guilty of corruption from holding public office.

EFF
To stop using private companies to fulfill duties that the government is responsible for and to establish a state administration court that can impose a minimum sentence of 20 years to deal with incidents of corruption and maladministration.

VF+
To implement a transparent system based on fair competition through which all forms of corruption are barred and to prohibit public officials from receiving state tenders.

Crime

Agang SA
To reinstate trust in the police force by establishing a force that is not run by any political party.

ANC
To increase police presence, to eradicate illegal firearm ownership, to eliminate drug use and drug-related crimes and to focus on high crime risk areas.

Cope
To ensure that national and other police commissioners are suitably qualified, to standardise the police force, to reinstate specialised police units and to focus on sexual offences, organised crime, drug trafficking and fraud.

DA
To increase the police force and to guarantee that the police force is qualified, trained and equipped suitably, and to increase the use of technology in the fight against crime.

EFF
To increase police visibility and to ban intimidation and the use of live ammunition by the police during protests.

VF+
To prioritise farm killings and to ensure that the police serve and protect without political influence. 

Image: Brad Donald 

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