Big chal­lenge for all par­ties

Daily Dispatch - - Opinion -

The ANC’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion at Durban’s Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium this week­end kicks off in earnest the race to the polls.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is launch­ing the rul­ing party’s elec­tion cam­paign at the mass rally and party lead­ers are hop­ing the choice of KwaZulu-Natal, for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s heart­land, will sig­nal the party is se­ri­ous about build­ing unity in the wake of years of di­vi­sive fac­tion­al­ism.

The ANC, which has ruled SA since the first demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994, has to con­vince vot­ers it is able to ad­dress the twin demons of cor­rup­tion and pa­tron­age which have be­dev­iled eco­nomic growth and ser­vice de­liv­ery.

It also has to con­vince South Africans that it can tackle the coun­try’s big­gest prob­lem – a slug­gish econ­omy and ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment, which is par­tic­u­larly preva­lent among youth.

The ANC needs to present a vi­sion that re­in­forces its com­mit­ment to non-racial­ism at the same time as mean­ing­fully ad­dress­ing the gross in­equal­i­ties that per­sist a quar­ter of a cen­tury after apartheid rule ended.

All of this is a tall or­der, but op­po­si­tion par­ties face equally tough chal­lenges.

The ANC ex­pe­ri­enced a sharp de­cline in pop­u­lar­ity un­der the scan­dal-rid­den pres­i­dency of Ja­cob Zuma and the 2016 lo­cal elec­tions saw party sup­port fall way be­low the 60% mark and the ANC lose con­trol of sev­eral ma­jor cities.

But re­cent sur­veys pre­dict this down­ward trend is likely to be re­versed in the com­ing na­tional and provin­cial elec­tions, largely be­cause of Ramaphosa’s pro­file.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties, many of whom are bat­tling their own in­ter­nal di­vi­sions, will have to con­vince vot­ers they of­fer a vi­able al­ter­na­tive.

The elec­tions must take place be­tween May 7 and Au­gust 5 and Ramaphosa is likely to an­nounce the date later in Jan­uary.

The com­ing months will see the pub­lic bom­barded with the usual razzmatazz elec­tion­eer­ing.

We can ex­pect a plethora of prom­ises spiced up with some smear cam­paigns and at­ten­tion-grab­bing stunts.

It is up to cit­i­zens to re­main soberly mind­ful of the press­ing is­sues this prov­ince and coun­try face and make up their own minds about what kind of fu­ture they want.

The first step to play­ing our part in build­ing that fu­ture is to make sure every­body over the age of 18 is reg­is­tered to cast a vote.

The last reg­is­tra­tion week­end will take place on Jan­uary 26 and 27.

We urge all our read­ers to make sure they qual­ify to cast a bal­lot.

The ANC has to con­vince vot­ers it is able to ad­dress the twin demons of cor­rup­tion and pa­tron­age

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.