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A closer look at election manifestos | Jan Gerber

Sameera Casmod |
11 March 2024 | 14:11 SAST
2 minute read

As the countdown to the elections begins, political parties in South Africa have launched their manifestos, outlining their vision, promises, and proposed solutions for the country’s challenges.

But what do these manifestos actually say, and how do they stack up against each other? We spoke with Jan Gerber, a political reporter at News24, to discuss the significance of these documents.

Gerber speaks about the significance of manifestos, emphasising their role as guiding documents for political parties and voters alike. However, he acknowledges the scepticism surrounding their implementation, noting that while parties may articulate ambitious plans, their execution often falls short.

Starting with the ANC, Gerber noted a sense of déjà vu, with the party’s manifesto echoing familiar promises of doing more and doing it better. Yet he pointed out the disconnect between these promises and the persistent failures in delivering basic services like electricity and water.

“It’s [the manifesto] very much the same as you’ve seen from the ANC before, just the promise that they’re actually going to do it this time. So, I think it’s a problem for them that they have this plan, but it’s not being implemented properly. And people live their failures- electricity, water provision in so many parts of the country,” Gerber notes.

Turning to opposition parties, Gerber outlined distinct approaches. The DA’s manifesto emphasises public-private partnerships and a less state-centric approach compared to the ANC. Notably, the DA’s stance on race recognition in policies may draw scrutiny from voters.

Meanwhile, the EFF’s manifesto advocates for extensive nationalisation and increased state intervention, with a focus on the state’s role in various sectors.

Gerber also discussed the emergence of new parties like Action SA and Rise Mzansi, highlighting their focus on addressing fundamental issues but noting a lack of detailed plans compared to established parties.

Gerber discusses the importance of media in informing voters and urges voters to arm themselves with information before heading to cast their ballots on 29 May 2024.

Gerber reflects on the experience of being a political reporter, particularly in South Africa’s current political climate. He notes that there is a possibility that the ANC might lose its majority for the first time in South Africa’s democracy. Additionally, increased contestation, exacerbated by the emergence of parties like uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), makes for a historic election.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.


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