Reck­on­ing year for ‘big three’

● Po­lit­i­cal ex­perts say ANC, DA, EFF will have their work cut out to prove them­selves, write Siyam­tanda Capa and No­maz­ima Nkosi

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News -

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts be­lieve 2019 will be the year of reck­on­ing for the coun­try’s “big three” po­lit­i­cal par­ties with the gen­eral elec­tions loom­ing.

The per­for­mance of the ANC in the elec­tions will show whether Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has done enough to con­vince vot­ers that the party is on the mend, they say.

The pe­riod lead­ing up to the elec­tion will also be a time of repo­si­tion­ing for par­ties such as the DA, after un­rav­el­ing in 2018, while the EFF will strug­gle to keep to its head above wa­ter in light of the VBS Bank scan­dal.

Mean­while op­po­si­tion par­ties in the Bay have pre­dicted that a change in lo­cal gov­ern­ment is to be ex­pected this year as may­orMongameli Bobani awaits the out­come of a Hawks in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions that he has ben­e­fited from cor­rup­tion.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst and se­nior re­searcher in democ­racy Joleen Steyn-Kotze said the key is­sues that would dom­i­nate the elec­tion de­bate would in­clude the land is­sue, youth un­em­ploy­ment and the eco­nomic cli­mate, as well as how po­lit­i­cal par­ties planned on turn­ing things around.

“The ANC needs to work on re­build­ing po­lit­i­cal trust in com­mu­ni­ties if one looks back at the 2016 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

“The DA could see them­selves los­ing votes, es­pe­cially after [for­mer Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia] de Lille started her own po­lit­i­cal party,” SteynKotze said.

“It will also be in­ter­est­ing to see what the EFF’s tar­get cam­paign mes­sage will be since the ANC took own­er­ship of the land is­sue. Maybe they’ll fo­cus on youth un­em­ploy­ment and ser­vice de­liv­ery is­sues.”

Prof Mce­bisi Ndletyana said the ANC would have to re­form and if the EFF wanted to gain and re­tain votes it would have to re­main cred­i­ble lead­ing to the elec­tions, es­pe­cially in view of the VBS scan­dal.

“The VBS saga threat­ened to un­mask the EFF, to show that it was a fake and that they were not what they were claim­ing to be. In­stead of be­ing con­sci­en­tious and eth­i­cal they were in fact seen as no dif­fer­ent from Ja­cob Zuma,” Ndletyana said.

In terms of the Bay coali­tion, Ndletyana said he ex­pected

But Andile [Lungisa] might go to prison and the ANC would have to take a se­ri­ous de­ci­sion if they want to lead that coali­tion. In­sta­bil­ity will per­sist

things to stay the same in the first half of the year.

“It can’t last the year be­cause it is pos­si­ble that Bobani might be ar­rested, depend­ing on how the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions against him goes. But Andile [Lungisa] might go to prison and the ANC would have to take a se­ri­ous de­ci­sion if they want to lead that coali­tion. In­sta­bil­ity will per­sist in the metro,” Ndletyana said.

Re­searcher and NMU lec­turer Ongama Mtimka said he ex­pected the main is­sue in the ANC – be­tween now and the first par­lia­men­tary sit­ting – would be a tug of war for po­si­tions.

“Even though the con­fer­ence is done and dusted, there’s still a lot the NEC [na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee] still needs to de­cide on in terms of names be­cause only 25% of names are re­garded as what are in the safe zone. So we can ex­pect a lot of con­test­ing – which will take up as much en­ergy of the ANC as elec­tions will,” Mtimka said.

He said the in­flu­ence of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture and how Ramaphosa would deal with it was an­other thing to look out for this year.

Other ma­jor events that are set to hap­pen this year are:

ý The city re­gain­ing the func­tion to build houses as it bat­tles a back­log of 84 000;

ý The bud­get and trea­sury de­part­ment is also ex­pected to present the fi­nal doc­u­ment of how R750m in loan fund­ing meant for in­fra­struc­ture will be spent. This is after an at­tempt was made to amend the busi­ness plan at the De­cem­ber 4 coun­cil meet­ing in New Brighton;

ý The fill­ing of crit­i­cal va­can­cies and the ap­point­ment of new se­nior man­agers as the con­tracts of some ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors come to an end be­tween April and June;

ý By-elec­tions for the re­place­ment of two DA ward coun­cil­lors who turned against the party.

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