Three political parties are pulling out all the stops to win the last undecided voters going to the polls on May 8 to elect the nation’s leaders.
The three are running in a field of 48. The long-ruling ANC (since 1994) is expected to vanquish the competition despite having let down much of the electorate with a slew of high-profile corruption scandals.
At the party’s final rally at a stadium in Johannesburg, President Cyril Ramaphosa, confessed: “We made mistakes (yet) we put ourselves before our people and say, Yes, we have made mistakes, but it is only those who are doing nothing who don’t make mistakes.”
According to some analysts, however, voters are seriously conflicted.
“I don’t think there’s a clear choice because the main parties, and even some of the smaller parties are bringing enormous baggage into this election in terms of their own internal dynamics,” Ivor Sarakinsky of the University of the Witwatersrand told the BBC.
“We focus on the ANC’s baggage and dynamics, but all the parties have their own baggage. The Democratic Alliance and the controversies in terms of internal leadership, the Economic Freedom Fighters in terms of internal leadership and questions about financial flows into the party. There’s controversy around all of them.”
“Why are these elections important?” asked Vauldi Carelse, a young BBC reporter asked in a Twitter video. “It’s 25 years since all races were allowed to vote for the first time.
“There are 26 million voters but 6 million young eligible people did not register. So what are the battleground issues? Jobs, land ownership, public services – or lack thereof, crime, race. Yes, a generation of from the fall of apartheid, race remains a divisive issue in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, South Africans living abroad are also voting in this 2019 general election. South African citizens living abroad went to the polls last Saturday. According to the Independent Electoral Commission, there are 29 000 eligible voters living abroad and this democratic exercise has been their most successful since 1994.
Isa Mdingi, a South African voting in China, wrote on Twitter: “As a young person in the Diaspora I will be casting my vote at the Beijing mission. 25 years ago on April 27, people of South Africa cast their votes for the 1st time. 25 years later I will be casting mine too! What a time to be alive!”