Friday, May 23, 2014

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Monday, May 19, 2014

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

South Africa's ruling ANC takes election lead

Ruling party has over 60 percent of vote with half of the ballots counted, while Democratic Alliance gets 22.5 percent. South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has taken a clear lead in the country's first 'born free' elections where a new generation of South Africans who never experienced firsthand apartheid, voted for the first time. Results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) showed the ANC with over 60 percent of the vote after about half of the ballots was counted.

Its nearest rival, the Democratic Alliance, held 22.5 percent, in line with predictions the party would improve on the 16.7 percent it won five years ago as it gradually sheds its image as the political home of privileged whites. The leftwing Economic Freedom Fighters, led by Julius Malema, who was expelled from the ANC, was in third place with nearly 5 percent. While voting in the fifth election since the end of apartheid ran smoothly, an IEC spokesman said it was investigating the killing of what the ANC said was one of its members.

The ANC, which led the fight against apartheid, has dominated politics since Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president in 1994. Pre-election polls had put ANC support near 65 percent, a little below the 65.9 percent it won in the 2009 election that brought Zuma to power. Jabulani Radebe, a staunch ANC member who has lived in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, told Al Jazeera that the results were not surprising. "I am not surprised because even though people have criticised President Zuma, we as members separate the leaders from the party. It means that even if Zuma is gone tomorrow, it shows the ANC is still strong and will go on," he said.

"It seems the opposition spent a lot of time attacking the ANC rather than offering alternatives and maybe this benefitted us." Radebe added. The country's economy has struggled to recover from a 2009 recession - its first since 1994 - and the ANC's efforts to stimulate growth and tackle 25 percent unemployment have been hampered by powerful unions. South Africa's top anti-corruption agency accused Zuma this year of "benefiting unduly" from a $23m state-funded security upgrade to his private home at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal that included a swimming pool and chicken run. Zuma has denied any wrongdoing and defended the upgrades as necessary for the protection of a head of state. He confidently announced on Monday the Nkandla controversy was "not an issue with the voters".

Source: Aljazeera

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

South Africa Elections: IEC concerned by poor youth turnout

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has expressed concern over the poor youth turn out at the Development Hub voting station in Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg. "It is a concern but it is still early days," said IEC provincial electoral officer Masego Sheburi on Wednesday morning. Sheburi said they would have preferred people going to vote early in the morning.

He praised the spirit and resilience of the elderly following the torching of the voting station tent.
"They have been here since before break of dawn even before we had a structure. They were still standing here and saying they are going to vote and would wait for as long as it takes to establish the voting station," he said. Sheburi said the torching of their tent put a dampener on proceedings, but they were expecting a high voter turn out in the area.

"We pitched our tent on Tuesday to ensure we could start on time but because it was torched, it means we started late but all stations are operational now," he said. There was a heavy police presence in the area with at least 10 police vehicles and a military truck parked at the station.  A police helicopter was flying over the area. More police and military vehicles were parked at the entrance of the township while others were patrolling the streets.

Source: News24

Monday, May 5, 2014

South Africa's ANC vows to extend rule, rivals promise election 'shock'

South Africa's ruling ANC predicted it would sweep national elections this week on promises to build more houses, create jobs and eradicate inequality, but opponents warned of a shock for a party they said was arrogant after 20 years in power. An  Ipsos poll in the Sunday Times newspaper suggested the ANC would win 63.9 percent of the vote, down from 65.9 percent five years ago and short of the two-thirds majority needed in parliament to push through changes to the constitution. Analysts and critics say Nelson Mandela's movement has lost support due to rising anger among its mainly black supporters over the slow delivery of adequate housing, sanitation, quality education and jobs.

"The ANC lives, the ANC leads. We will be victorious on May 7," President Jacob Zuma told tens of thousands of supporters at the African National Congress's final rally ahead of Wednesday's vote, where it should gain another five-year mandate to govern.
The ANC has the history, experience, political will, capacity and the determination to ... take South Africa forward," said Zuma, dressed in yellow, green and black party regalia .He told a packed Johannesburg stadium that the party would focus the next five years on improving education and health, developing rural areas, pressing on with land reforms, fighting crime, creating jobs and transforming an economy still saddled with racial inequalities.

The Ipsos poll suggested the main opposition Democratic Alliance would increase its share of the vote to 23.7 percent from 16.7 percent. The Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical leftist party led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, was expected to garner 4.7 percent in its election debut.
Malema on Sunday reiterated his party's intent to nationalize the country's mines, provide free education and enforce a minimum wage, messages that have resonated with poor blacks resentful that whites still control the bulk of the economy two decades after the end of white-minority rule.

At a Democratic Alliance rally on Saturday, party chiefs said Zuma's administration, dogged by charges of rampant corruption, had veered off track and failed to build on progress made under Mandela, South Africa's first black president, and his successor Thabo Mbeki.
The ANC has become arrogant because they believe that the voters will carry on voting for them, whatever they do. Well, they are in for a big shock on Wednesday," party leader Helen Zille told supporters. Zuma's personal approval rating ahead of the vote has been dented by a report by South Africa's top anti-corruption watchdog that he benefited unduly from a $21 million state-funded security upgrade to his private home.

Source: Reuters