(My statement here is in no way an attempt at swaying anyone. In fact, “spoiler alert”, you may wish to unfriend me or in any other way dissociate yourself from me after reading my list.)
I have not yet given up on democratic choice, as constrained as it is in our South African context by the proportional representation system.
I will not waste my vote and have narrowed my choices to 8 for this sixth national election. They’re listed below. They include one Christian church-based party, a Muslim party, a capitalist-espousing group of outliers, a party unequivocally directed by women, 2 mainline parties which have been around since forever, and an upstart whose leadership is seasoned but I’m not sure whether that leader will hold.
My X will go to one or two of these – one X for the national poll and the other for the provincial ballot. You’ll find “No” next to the names of the rest of the 48 parties on the national ballot, with some explanatory comments.
African Democratic Change. X – Sound principles on some issues; Makhozi Khoza
No – Makhozi Khoza; I am confused about who leads the party after the high profile founder left and now seems to be back again. Can lowly constituents trust the backwards and forwards?
African People’s Convention. X – Themba Godi has done good work in Parliament.
No – Among principles espoused is that they will never “betray”, except they were formed after two PAC members jumped ship into the APC.
Al Jama-ah. X – Islamic-centred party but you don’t have to be Muslim to be a member or vote for them.
Capitalist Party of South Africa. X – Apart from their love fest with a system of greed that justifiably gets a bad rap, I like the dudes; act of desperation.
No – The Purple Cow (the party’s logo). Although if you’re one of those who makes up their mind based on what jumps out of the page, The Purple Cow might work.
Christian Political Movement. X – ‘committed to conditions of freedom, solidarity, justice, education, economic security and equality’
No – Hyper-local, Mdantsane church-based.
Inkatha Freedom Party. X – Some innovative policy proposals; good team of MPs, especially when Mangosuthu Buthulezi eventually goes.
No – Mango; tribalised identity.
United Democratic Movement. X – Bantu Holomisa has mostly been principled in his approach to politics, especially within Parliament.
No – What really happened in Nelson Mandela Bay? Was Bantu Holomisa just peeved off with Athol Trollip’s bullyboy tactics?
Women Forward. X and No – Wants to stop women merely fronting for men in the public sphere. Also wants to stop rape through ensuring rapists are castrated – unless they are executed.
Afrikan Alliance of Social Democrats. No – Leader Pappie Mokoena has a questionable ANC history as Mangaung mayor and as owner of a prison management company. Acquitted of theft & money-laundering charges etc etc.
African Christian Democratic Party. No – I support the right to legal, publicly-funded abortion. I believe homosexuality is neither a crime nor a sin.
African Congress of Democrats. No – Little known about it. Believes in “moral values”.
African Content Movement. No – We had enough of the crazies like Hlaudi Motsoeneng running the SABC, we don’t want them running amok anywhere in future anytime soon.
African Covenant. No – The ACDP seems quite liberal by comparison on Christian principles regarding murder and abortion, which essentially work out to the same thing according to the party, and the marriage covenant.
African Independent Congress. No – Narrow interests founded on the back of Matatiele’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape.
African Renaissance Unity. No – Draws together traditional leaders. What to do if one lives in a township or suburb?
African Security Congress. No – Literally works for you if you’re a security guard.
African Transformation Movement. No – Possible front party for Jacob Zuma; backed by ultra-conservative Messianic churches. Led by Mzwanele Manyi.
African National Congress. No – The current ANC NEC largely has no commitment to democratic South Africa’s founding principles, including democracy, non-racism, non-sexism principles. There are too many shady characters in the NEC, including among the top six.
Agang South Africa. No – They’ve done little to overcome the disorganisation tag of their formation.
Alliance for Transformation for All. No – Formed by taxi operators. Can we really trust a party not to zig-zag over our rights when its signed-up members can’t stay in their lanes on the road.
Azanian People’s Organisation. No – Purporting to carry the black consciousness legacy of Steve Biko, they’ve bickered their way to irrelevancy in parliamentary politics.
Better Residents’ Association. No – Formerly known as Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association, it has a very narrow geographic reach and a leader serving prison time for vigilantism.
Black First Land First. No – Leader Andile Mngxitama has very occasional bouts of intellectual clarity and longer spells of aggression, racism, lunacy, mostly in the service of the Saxonwold Shebeen. BLF is a possible front for JZ.
Compatriots of South Africa. No – Just no; “their part is to represent the forgotten coloured community”.
Congress of the People. No – I think Terror has lost it.
Democratic Alliance. No – Remember the Nats; apartheid town planning still rules – ask the people in the Bokaap; what happened about the SMS controversy with De Lille?
Democratic Liberal Congress. No – An offshoot of Amichand “Double-cross that bridge” Rajbansi’s one-person Minority Front. Currently has one seat in Ethekwini Metro council.
Economic Emancipation Forum. No – Church-based party which has been active in former Bophuthatswana areas.
Economic Freedom Fighters. No – Malema and others must tell us how they fund their lifestyles. Dictatorship of the dictators.
Forum for Service Delivery. No – Xenophobia in the extreme; formed by former ANC members.
Free Democrats. No – Single issue party; anti-National Health Insurance.
Front National. No – Afrikaner right-wingers reign supreme; agh, let’s just bring the Nats back
GOOD. No – Possible one-person party; what happened with the DA about the SMS controversy, Aunty Pat?
Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa. No – Party for disgruntled coloureds who previously were deeply embedded with the ANC.
International Revelation Congress. No – Christian-based party but arguably more conservative than the ACDP what with a policy proposal to use ex-bantustan officials as consultants to government. Favours BEE based on poverty.
Land Party. No – Leader has a history in the EFF but don’t get hooked on the name, they’re committed to private property rights, presumably especially in Hermanus, where they’re centred.
Minority Front. No – After a tumultuous reign by Amichand Rajbansi, the MF is a shadow of its former self, with not an MP in sight.
National Freedom Party. No – An offshoot of the IFP, inconsequential except possibly for IFP tribalists.
National People’s Ambassadors. No – Confused is not the word, internationalist outlook yet wants an Mzansi “for South Africans only”.
National People’s Front. No – Yet another rabid xenophobic party.
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. No – More riven by factionalism than the ANC, with barely a seat in Parliament to show for it.
Patriotic Alliance. No – The only thing I remember about the PA is that their leader is an ex-con having served time in jail and that they took a stand against racism when they backed the DA’s Athol Trollip for Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. But then they also campaign for the coloured vote. Confusing.
People’s Revolutionary Movement. No – Totally anti-gay rights, totally xenophobic, so anti-Constitution then.
Power of African Unity. No – A one-man party, despite what its one man says, with almost zero political activity to entice voters, let alone meaningful activity.
Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party. No – Irvin Jim’s Numsa-backed party of the revolution, which is electioneering despite not believing in our “bourgeois electoral system”.
South African Maintenance and Estate Beneficiaries Association. No – There really is nothing here.
South African National Congress of Traditional Authorities. No – Maybe not your cup of tea if you’re not quite a tribal traditionalist. Has links with David Mabuza’s Mpumalanga ANC politics.
Freedom Front Plus. No, no, and no again – Enough said.