Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota (centre) with his two deputies, Mbhazima Shilowa and Lynda Odendaal, an IT executive. Odendaalâ€™s nomination to a top post apparently surprised even her. The new partyâ€™s top 12 leaders were named during the final session of (AP)
Most pollsters agree that there are thousands of votes still up for grabs, something the “other five” will try to capitalise on as we enter the last three weeks of campaigns, writes Adriaan
How will the
“other five” parties perform in the May 8 national election?
UDM, FF+, Cope and ACDP have been part of the South African political landscape
for at least a decade and have established themselves as valuable contributors
to the national debate.
With the ANC
at war with itself, the DA facing an identity crisis and the EFF fighting new
corruption fires every week, these parties may attract voters who feel that none
of the top three parties deserve their vote.
“other five” are also facing a threat from the new kids on the block
like the ATM, the ZACP (Purple Cows), Patricia de Lille’s GOOD and Irvin Jim’s
Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party.
many more options on this year’s ballot paper and voters may drop the
“oldies” in favour of new blood in Parliament.
point of discussion I am picking up across racial and ideological lines goes
something like this: “I want to vote for Cyril, but I cannot vote for the
ANC. The DA is just too confusing and the EFF uses cheap populism to hide their
agree that there are thousands of votes still up for grabs, something the
“other five” will try to capitalise on as we enter the last three
weeks of campaigns.
of the “other five”, the IFP faces an uncertain future as its
president-for-life, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, exits politics after the election.
The party is trying to capitalise for a final time on Buthelezi’s popular
support, particularly in northern KwaZulu-Natal, but it may have been a
strategic blunder not to deploy a new, younger leader for the election.
The IFP has
always had a number of effective Members of Parliament who contributed
constructively to the law-making process, but the last term of Parliament
specifically saw the rise of two very bright, young politicians in Mkhuleko
Hlengwa and Liezl van der Merwe, who were leading voices in the fight against
Jacob Zuma’s corruption.
shed votes to former IFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi’s National Freedom Party
(NFP) in the 2014 national election, but the subsequent implosion of the NFP
will almost certainly see the IFP regaining some of those votes – a trend that
already started to emerge in the 2016 local government elections.
Bantu Holomisa has been a leading light in the opposition’s efforts to unite in
exposing state capture under Zuma. His efforts to expose wrongdoing at the
Public Investment Corporation in particular should see him gain support at the
polls, although questions remain about the UDM’s role in unseating the DA-led
opposition coalition that governed Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality after the
2016 local elections.
Holomisa, the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani, who now serves as mayor of Port Elizabeth
with the support of the ANC, is not particularly known for fighting corruption
and has several question marks hanging over his integrity. This includes
appointing Andile Lungisa, the thuggish ANC councillor who was convicted for
assault, to his mayoral committee.
valiant efforts to build the UDM into a good governance champion over the years
may be significantly undermined at the polls by his refusal to act against
Groenewald, the FF+ has been reenergised and actively takes part in the national
discussion in Parliament, particularly where it concerns land and agriculture.
believes it can take votes from the DA from Afrikaners who are confused about
the official opposition party’s position on issues like Employment Equity,
language and land, but the FF+ didn’t do itself any favours by using the slogan
“slaan terug (hit back) SA” in this campaign. Who are they planning
It smacks of
anti-black racism and will alienate moderate Afrikaners who would prefer public
representatives that participate to find solutions rather than fight.
leader Mosiuoa Lekota has made a concerted effort to champion the Constitution
with a specific focus on land reform during his campaign. Even appearing with
AfriForum, Lekota is also hoping to capitalise on Afrikaners who no longer
trust the DA to champion their interests in Parliament.
In a country
where 80% of citizens identify as Christian, the ACDP is again trying to focus
on issues that specifically speak to this religious group. They will face tough
opposition from the ATM, that has support from specific church groups. MP Steve
Swart has consistently been one of the most effective public representatives in
– Basson is editor-in-chief of News24.