Many political parties are yet to launch their election manifestos six weeks before the 1 November local governmentelection, leaving voters uninformed and guessing why they should vote for them.
This means the majority of voters were not yet informed on choices to make at a time when a recent Afrobarometer survey showed the electorate were fed up with unfulfilled promises. At the same time, recent by-elections in Johannesburg’s Eldorado Park indicated voters had begun to vote on issues rather than loyalties.
But the newly established ActionSA launched its manifesto in central Johannesburg on Saturday, while the Democratic Alliance unveiled its electoral promises much earlier. Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania, which is also yet to launch its manifesto, promised to campaign on land. The party is taking advantage of the current hunger for land and plans to revive the programme for the return of the land to Africans.
Land has been the PAC’s central policy and a rallying cry from its formation in 1959 when led by Robert Sobukwe, it broke away from the ANC. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) defied the Covid regulations and embarked on campaigning in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, Diepsloot and Kagiso where its leader Julius Malema addressed community meetings.
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Malema and his national leadership deliberately took a decision to campaign after the Constitutional Court rejected the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s application for the election postponement.
But, like many others, the EFF is yet to launch its manifesto. The launch is scheduled for 26 September in Johannesburg.
PAC president Mzwanele Nyhontso said land would feature prominently in the party’s manifesto. “For us to address rural development, we must address the land issue. For us, in order to address poverty in communities, we must address the land question.” He said the question of African royalty or traditional leaders role versus ward councillors must be addressed. “The traditional leaders are the custodians of the land and that role must be put into practice,” Nyhontso said.
The PAC was concerned about rampant corruption and nepotism and that meritocracy was not considered in the local municipalities. “There must be land audits so as to know who owns what land. Thievery will be a thing of the past. We want honest, sincere and committed councillors.
“As Robert Sobukwe said, ‘the love for one’s people must be a determining factor’.”
The first worker’s party, Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party, announced it will not contest the local government poll.– firstname.lastname@example.org