SA’s political landscape is no party

As elections campaigning gets underway, parties will vie for the public’s vote and seek to challenge ruling party’s dominance.

Closer to the elections, new parties began to emerge, hoping to claim their place in the country’s political terrain.

To help readers navigate through the maze of 2014 election candidates, some of the major political players and newcomers contesting the election are listed below.

ancThe African National Congress (ANC): The ANC is currently South Africa’s ruling party and has been at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. The party was formed in 1912 in an effort to unite African people in the struggle for political, social and economic change. The key objective of the party is to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.

The current leader of the party is Jacob Zuma, who is also the president of South Africa. Cyril Ramaphosa is the deputy president.

daDemocratic Alliance (DA): The DA is the official opposition to the ANC and led by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille. The party formed as a result of many political parties merging over the years. The DA is based on the premise of a country of open opportunities in which everyone is free, equal and secure. The party also stands for the rejection of discrimination on the basis of race and the belief that the country belongs to all who live in it.

Lindiwe Mazibuko is the parliamentary leader of the party.

African Christian Democratic PartyAfrican Christian Democratic Party (ACDP): The Christian-orientated political party was formed prior to the 1994 elections by a group of Christians from diverse backgrounds. Led by Dr Kenneth Meshoe, the ACDP focuses on reconciliation, justice, compassion, tolerance, peace and the sanctity of life.

African People’s ConventionAfrican People’s Convention (APC): Themba Godi is the current president of the APC, which was founded in 2007 and was based on the premise of being an alternative voice. Some of the party’s objectives include striving for an Africanist socialist democracy and promoting the ideal of unifying Africa.


Azanian People’s OrganisationAzanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO): Azapo was formed from the Black People’s Convention and is based on the premise of fighting for the rights of black people and believes in empowering them. Azapo successfully campaigned for the isolation of apartheid South Africa by tirelessly and vigorously waging the cultural boycott in the country. The leader of the party is Jacob Dikobo and the deputy president is Strike Thokoane.

Congress of the PeopleCongress of the People (Cope): Cope is a party founded on the basis of being committed to shaping the future of South Africa. Currently led by Mosioua Lekota, it also aims to relieve poverty, create jobs and other appropriate income earning opportunities and to protect citizens from crime.


Economic Freedom FightersEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF): The EFF was formed in 2013 as left-wing political party. The current leader of the EFF is Julius Malema, former president of the ANC Youth League. The party focuses on emancipating South Africans economically and is anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. It aims to be the vanguard of the community and worker’s struggles.

Agang South AfricaAgang South Africa (SA): Agang was founded in 2013 by Dr Mamphela Ramphele. The party is based on principles such as restoring the promise of freedom, equality, dignity and hope for South Africans. It also holds to the notion that it is a non-racial political home and seeks a clean government and a constitutional democracy. The current leader of Agang SA is Ramphele, who momentarily stood as the DA’s presidential candidate in the 2014 election. Mills Soko is the director of policy.

Inkatha Freedom PartyInkatha Freedom Party (IFP): The IFP was formed in 1975 to fill the void left by the banning of the ANC and the PAC. The party was founded on principles such as the need to foster a spirit of unity among black South Africans and the need to help in promoting the development of black South Africans. The leader of the IFP is Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Pan Africanist Congress of AzaniaPan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC): The PAC is another party that was deeply involved in the liberation struggle. The party was formed in 1959 and is based on the principle of advancing the interests of Africans and ensuring that South Africa remains in the hands of the African majority. The current leader of the PAC is Senyane Alton Mphethi. The secretary general is Narius Moloto.

The United Democratic MovemenThe United Democratic Movement (UDM): The UDM was formed in 1997 on the principles of respect for life, dignity and the human worth of every individual. It also subscribes to the notion of economic values based on moral values and the freedom of religion and worship. The leader of the UDM is Bantu Holomisa. Zolisa Lavisa is the national chairperson.

VryheidFronts PlusVryheidFronts Plus (VF+): the VF+ was founded prior to the elections of 1994. The party commits itself to the realisation of ‘communities’, particularly Afrikaners. It also seeks to have the right to self-determination, maintenance, protection and promotion of Afrikaner interests. The leader of the party is Dr Pieter Mulder. Dr Pieter Groenewald is the parliamentary leader of the party.

The United Christian Democratic PartyThe United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP): the UCDP was founded by Lucas Mangope after the fall of the homeland, Bophuthatswana. The party has strong biblical foundations and sees itself as taking the lead in unifying all South Africans irrespective of religion. It also stands as a non-racial, non-sexist party seeking to unify all South Africans. The leader of the party is Isaac Mfundisi. The deputy president is Tediye P Moerane.

It won’t only be the likes of the popular front-runners that will be vying for votes this coming general election. New parties have registered in Gauteng and their emergence offers a wider choice for voters. These parties will be contesting the provincial elections.

The Black Economic Empowerment Party (BEE) is a newly registered party based in Gauteng. The party is based in Vereeniging.

Displacees Rate-Payers Association (DRPA), which is a new political party that is based in Ekurhuleni or the East Rand.

Kathorus Concerned Residents (KCR): a newly registered party also based in Ekurhuleni in Thokoza.

Operation Khanyisa Movement (OKM) is a party based in Diepkloof, Soweto.

Thembisa Concerned Residents Association (TECRA) is a newly registered party based in Thembisa, Ekurhuleni.

Umhlaba Uhlagene people’s United Nations (UUPUN) is a political party based in Ekurhuleni in Thokoza.

Simone Samuels and Khanyisile Ngcobo

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