Friday, January 10, 2014

Election Campaign underway in South African

South Africa’s Business Day reported January 4 that the Independent Electoral Commission has opened the process allowing South Africans living and travelling abroad to register to vote in the 2014 elections while overseas, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act 2013. Émigré South Africans, who tend to be wealthier whites, are an important constituency for the opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Meanwhile the DA is trying to expand its provincial lead in the Western Cape, where it is the governing party. It is seeking to wrest the majority from Gauteng’s incumbent African National Congress (ANC) government by appealing to the black middle class vote in the country’s smallest and wealthiest province.

Three other bourgeois parties, each with less than one percent of seats in the National Assembly, have joined the Congress of the People (COPE) in a coalition called the Collective for Democracy. COPE is an ANC split-off formed by Thabo Mbeki loyalists in 2008 in protest at his humiliating removal from national office after he lost the presidency of the ANC to Jacob Zuma at the party’s 2007 Polokwane conference. Like the ANC, the Collective has nothing to offer the poor. On the nominal left, the only parties making any appeal to workers are the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, and the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), which is aligned via the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) to the pseudo-left Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

The DSM states on its web site that it took the decision to form the WASP “Together with mineworkers’ committees.” It boasts of the support of the National Transport Movement, a breakaway from the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union, and is seeking relations with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which is in conflict with the National Union of Mineworkers. The DSM was formerly called the Marxist Workers Tendency (MWT) of the ANC. WASP/DSM realised as early as the beginning of the southern summer that the withdrawal of electoral support for the ruling ANC by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) would result in a bloc of working class voters without a political home in the upcoming elections. Accordingly, WASP has been sedulously courting NUMSA for months.

Source: Socialist Web

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