Posts Tagged ‘2014 elections’

SA should not be rolling out the red carpet for Mugabe

April 8, 2015

The DA notes today’s State Visit by the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, to South Africa. Granting a state visit – which is a favourable expression of a friendly bilateral relationship – is problematic in the first instance given that Mr Mugabe has become synonymous with human rights violations the world over.

robert mugabe

Engagement is needed with President Mugabe, but it should be on the basis of pressuring him into wholesale redress for human rights abuses that have ensued in Zimbabwe under his regime.

Our government should not be rolling out the red carpet and celebrating a man whose regime has discharged atrocities on its own people.

The most notable of these state-sanctioned atrocities was the Matebeland Massacre of the 1980’s that saw the public executions of 55 men and women who were forced to dig their own graves, and to which Mr Mugabe turned a blind eye.

It is estimated that 700–800 people were murdered by dissident gangs in rural regions across Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe granted blanket amnesty to all those responsible for this brutal extermination without seeking any restorative justice, making him complicit in this heinous wave of attacks. Today South Africa hails him as a hero. How can it be?

Mr Mugabe has presided over years of institutional human rights abuses including the use of political violence against opponents and the crippling of the country’s economy.

In recent years the Zimbabwean dollar was all but worthless. The Zimbabwean economy, after 2000, shrunk significantly, resulting in a desperate situation for the country and widespread poverty. What is worrying is that the current unemployment rate is not known but, based on some reports, could be as high as 85% and several recovery plans for the economy seem to be stalling. This under his watch and at the expense of millions of Zimbabweans.

a democracy

This has forced citizens to either flee the country in search of better living conditions, or remain in Zimbabwe to endure deepening levels of poverty.

Since September 2012, nearly every single civil society organisation of note in Zimbabwe working on civil, political and human rights issues had their offices raided, or leadership arrested, or both.

Additionally, in 2008, Mugabe and his party ZANU-PF essentially lost at the ballot box, and remained in power only by pursuing a campaign of political violence that caused his main presidential challenger to withdraw from the election.

To implicitly suggest that the injustices of Robert Mugabe’s plunder of Zimbabwe should be swept under the very red carpet our government seeks to roll-out today is deeply concerning.

Ignoring the intolerable pain inflicted by his repressive regime on the people of Zimbabwe renders South Africa’s human rights-based foreign policy meaningless. These issues should be at the very top of the agenda in any interaction between the South African and Zimbabwean government.

If our government continues in this vein we will effectively be inviting future governments on the continent to systemically erode the rights of their people with the knowledge that they will escape facing the consequences of their brutality. This does not bode well for a politically stable environment.

The DA empathises with the millions of Zimbabwean citizens both at home and within our borders. The South African government’s veneration of President Mugabe is irresponsible, insensitive and is a disservice to an entire people who have suffered under his rule.

Important voter information

January 16, 2014

Please remember that the voters’ roll closes at 5pm on the day the President proclaims the election date. Proclamation can happen any time after 9 Feb, so please make sure you register at your CORRECT voting station during the FINAL registration weekend on 8/9 February from 8am to 5pm.

DA honour your past

Please note: You can’t register at any voting station, only the one for the voting district where you live.
To find your correct voting station, call 0800 11 8000 or go to http://maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/, search for your street address and click the location of your home on the map.

If you can’t register at your voting station on 8 or 9 February, you can make an appointment to register at your local IEC office (contact info at http://www.elections.org.za/content/About-Us/Contact/).

IMPORTANT: Only SA citizens who are 16 or older and have a green, bar-coded ID book, smartcard ID or valid Temporary ID are able to register. No other forms of ID are accepted. You must be at least 18 on the day the president proclaims the election date to be able to vote in the election.

Please call the IEC call centre on 0800 11 8000 if you have any questions on registration.

ANC faces a drop in support

January 15, 2014

A survey conducted late in 2013 has indicated a huge drop in support for the ANC.

Ipsos South Africa undertakes a Pulse of the People™ study every six months and keeps close tabs on the opinions of voters. A randomly selected sample of South Africans of voting age (18+) were asked which party they would support if there were an election the next day.

keep calm

Respondents then filled in their own choices on a “ballot paper” – making this a secret vote. Looking at the results from the November 2008 poll (about six months before the 2009 election) and the results from the November 2013 poll (about six months before the 2014 election) it is clear that the overall support of the ANC fell with ten percentage points, from 63% in November 2008 to 53% in November 2013.

Political uncertainty, leadership issues, the aftermath of the Marikana shootings, the issues about Nkandla, service delivery protests, the forming of new political parties and a host of other reasons could have contributed to this important finding.

Some of the new political parties (EFF and AGANG) benefited from the support moving away from the ANC, but the single largest group (7%) who did not choose a specific party in November 2013, indicated that they would not vote.

A further 6% refused to answer and 5% did not know which party they will choose.

What you should expect from the Democratic Alliance in 2014

October 25, 2013

The political situation in South Africa is changing so fast, it is more difficult than ever before to predict the result of the 2014 election.

BEE DA

The special Cosatu congress to determine Zwelinzima Vavi’s future (and the rest of Cosatu’s leadership); the pending trial of EFF leader, Julius Malema on 51 corruption charges; and of course, what happens next to President Zuma could significantly change the political terrain before the 2014 election.

“I do not however believe that what Frans Cronje calls the ANC “verligtes” (enlightened) can save the ANC from itself. The ANC is now beyond the point of internal rescue” says Helen Zille.

As for the Economic Freedom Front, there is no way to know if Mr Malema will be acquitted or found guilty, or be declared bankrupt, which would prevent him from becoming a member of Parliament.

He won’t go to jail before the 2014 poll because he will have learnt from President Zuma how to drag his case through the justice system interminably.

And President Zuma himself faces great turmoil.

The DA’s attempt to obtain the reasons why the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew corruption charges against President Zuma is due to be determined in the Supreme Court of Appeal early next year.

In terms of scenario prediction, the DA cannot be sure what percentage of the vote we will win next year.

We must compare apples with apples. It is misleading to compare local government elections with national elections.

2014 is a national/provincial election, and we must compare our targets against the benchmark set in the 2009 national/provincial general election, when the DA won 16,6% of the vote.

We also won an outright majority in the Western Cape.

In 2014, indications are that the ANC can be brought below 50% of the vote in Gauteng. That will be a game-changer in South African politics.

The signs are that within a decade, if we continue to re-align politics around our vision, the DA will be the nucleus of a new non-racial majority at the centre of South African politics.

We can build this new majority based on a commitment to defend the constitution, grow an inclusive economy, and offer opportunities to all South Africans to use their freedom to improve their lives.

In the DA, we believe the state has three core functions: to defend people’s rights and freedoms, to extend their opportunities, and to do those things for people they cannot be expected to do for themselves.

The DA is advancing the concept of the ‘servant state’ as the alternative to the ‘captured state’. South Africans now know that where the DA governs, opportunities are provided as widely as possible.

Jobs and contracts are not gifted to the well-connected and small political elite. Everyone increasingly receives a fair chance, although this is a long process.

“I am more optimistic about South Africa’s future than I was in 1994. Then, we faced the grave risk of political competition in South Africa becoming defined by competing racial nationalism. Today it is increasingly a contestation of ideas, principles and policies. This shift is essential if we want to succeed as a democracy” added Zille.