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
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.