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Election season in South Africa: Top opposition parties launch manifestos

26.02.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are two of South Africa’s leading opposition parties, both by the number of members of parliament after the previous election in 2014 and their support base in communities around the country. As South Africa heads towards a sixth democratic general election on May 8, the DA and the EFF have launched their wish list should they be elected into government.

The EFF’s ticket to the big stage has always been the policy of land expropriation without compensation but there are six other pillars which prop up the red berets which includes; the nationalization of mines, banks and other strategic sectors, the abolishment of the tender system, free quality education, healthcare houses and sanitation, creating jobs, development of the African economy and offering citizens an open, accountable and corrupt-free government.

The DA punts itself as a party concerned particularly with clean governance in which Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity plays a major role and are the key values which form the foundation of the party. The part is guided by the idea of a free market-based economy and upholding individual rights and freedoms.

THE EFF MANIFESTO

The launch of the 166-page document which contained the party’s wish list was characterized by fashion, style and lots of character. The EFF’s reasoning of opting for a township north of Pretoria was deliberate because the area houses people from all over South Africa but from the continent as well. Giant Stadium had been painted red from the inside out and had turned into melting pot ready to feast from the leadership of the EFF. And in true rally spirit, struggles songs became a big feature with supporters hoisting red flags and placards bearing the face of leader Julius Malema.

The manifesto contains some lofty goals and short term plans that leave one wondering how they will be implemented or where the resources would come from instead its promise after promise after promise. Social grants will be doubled instantly when the EFF assume government. Schools will have more resources, free education, abolishment of pit toilets and a whole lot more.  But some tangible suggestions in the manifesto.

Their plan to introduce courses in coding, computer hardware development, artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet and biotechnology in 2020 to all universities and colleges should be lauded. There is a massive debate currently in the fourth industrial revolution conversation about the loss of jobs and leaving behind a massive number of the population behind and if careers in that space could be made easily available, it could be a huge positive.

Like most parties in South African alive to the 27% unemployment rate, the EFF is promising jobs, jobs and more jobs. The fact that there is no track record to judge on and the EFF in not in power in any form of government and this make it easier for them to propose that this job massacre currently besieging South Africa will be ended through state-led industrialization, industrial diversification and the protection of infant and existing industries.

It also promises a minimum jail term of 20 years on officials who steal from the public purse.

The tone of the document was directed at a young, black constituency that is reeling from the impact of years of economic apartheid and was aptly title: “Our land and jobs now”. But the EFF made it clear that it is not really interested in the votes of some groups.

THE DA’ S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE

The DA does not believe in the concept of expropriation of land without compensation. In fact, for this contentious issue in the country, the DA believes South Africans should be given title deeds instead.  The party believes in land reform that grows jobs, expands ownership and the economy and enables economic justice.

“I’m not interested in a system where people must live at the mercy of the State on land owned by the State. That’s not freedom,” said party president Mmusi Maimane launching the document to 20 000 strong audience.

The 83-page manifesto contains plans that would seek to stimulate the economy, create jobs but also introduce new policies that are in stark contrast to the ruling party’s stance. For the creation of jobs, the DA plans to introduce a year of voluntary National Civilian Service which will create a bridge between school and the world of work in an effort to provide youth with work experience.

The party also intends to pass the Jobs Act which will offer tax incentives for people to come and open businesses that create jobs. But it also will put enough emphasis on policies to create more small businesses.

On employment corruption, the party promises to increase transparency of the recruitment process by ensuring high-profile public sector jobs are properly advertised through a variety of media. It will also make a hotline to report employment corruption.

Maimane has got big plans for the police units of South Africa. He’s pushing for better training programmes that guarantee a higher caliber of law enforcement professionals on the street.

The DA also promised to clamp down on border security and fix the porous borders of South Africa. This will be done by introducing policy that will ensure that every person who comes into the country is documented and registered and that immigration controls are implemented.

The DA also has plans to tackle crime in rural areas and a comprehensive plan to address rural safety challenges covered in the safety section. The party says it will allow for the deployment of resources to those farming areas and rural communities worst affected by crime.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image: google image/EFF/DA

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