Election’24: Snapshots of the ANC, DA, EFF, MK & the PA

With only a week to go before the most important election since 1994, many South Africans are still not sure which party to vote for. BizNews asked Dr. Ina Gouws of the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State to give viewers an objective and unbiased overview of the manifestos of five parties that are currently dominating the headlines: the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema, the MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma, and Gayton McKenzie’s Patriotic Alliance (PA). Dr Gouws details how each party wants to tackle the issues that most concern South Africans: crime, corruption, the economy, job creation, and power generation.

Sign up for your early morning brew of the BizNews Insider to keep you up to speed with the content that matters. The newsletter will land in your inbox at 5:30am weekdays. Register here.


Watch here

Listen here


Summary of the interview

In a comprehensive interview with BizNews, Dr. Ina Gouws from the University of the Free State provided detailed analyses of the manifestos of five prominent South African political parties.

The African National Congress (ANC) emphasizes combating corruption with AI, economic growth through a social compact, prescribed assets, land reform, and infrastructure investment. They focus on modernizing crime prevention and increasing public employment, with less emphasis on resolving load shedding issues.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) aims to fight corruption by disbanding the Hawks and creating an Anti-Corruption Commission. They oppose cadre deployment, seek partial state institution privatization, and promote economic ties with the EU and USA. Their manifesto includes support for small businesses, decentralizing police responsibilities, and encouraging private electricity generation to tackle load shedding.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) advocate for nationalizing key sectors, expropriating land without compensation, and increasing taxes on the wealthy. They propose significant social grant increases, reducing government size, and establishing a DNA database for crime prevention. Their extensive manifesto highlights state-led job creation and local processing of raw materials.

MK, led by Jacob Zuma, proposes radical changes such as scrapping the Constitution, reducing provinces, and monetary compensation for Apartheid victims. They support expropriation without compensation, a Sovereign Wealth Fund, and compulsory military service. MK focuses on coal power expansion and elevating traditional leaders’ roles in governance.

The Patriotic Alliance, targeting the Western Cape, combines radical and conservative policies. They emphasize Christianity in education, support fracking, and propose strict immigration controls including mass deportations. Their pragmatic economic policies include breaking monopolies, supporting small businesses, and moderate taxation on the super-rich. They aim for corruption-free governance and enhanced law enforcement integrity.

Extended transcript of the interview ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Chris Steyn (00:04.979)

So many voters are still undecided which party to vote for next week. So we take a look at the manifestos of five of the parties currently making headlines. Here to do it for us is Dr. Ina Gouws of the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State. Welcome Dr. Gouws.

Dr Ina Gouws (00:26.62)

Thank you for having me.

Chris Steyn (00:29.011)

May we start with the ruling African National Congress, please?

Dr Ina Gouws (00:34.396)

Yes, I can give you a little bit of an overview. We can see which parties have been in this mix longer than the others. For instance, the ANC have now stabilised their manifesto, if you will. It’s 53 pages, as we have come to expect, more or less. 

And if you focus particularly on some things that it seems, according to the polls, South Africans really find important for this election is of course first and foremost seems to be corruption. And if you look at the ANC’s Manifesto where that is concerned, there’s nothing much that’s new in this manifesto apart from what we’ve heard them say and the ways that they want to crack down. Something that’s interesting I should say is that they want to use Artificial Intelligence, you know, for particularly internal corruption processes, and they align with the DA where that is concerned. There is, however, no information on how or when this will be used. 

And then of course, looking at the economy itself linked with job creation. This is something the ANC has reiterated once again that they want a social compact with the public for preventing corruption, for instance. And they want to start aligning themselves to a particular economic strategies that they couldn’t really get off the ground because of the internal strife and the way certain institutions were eroded. They want to get to that aspect of the Sovereign Wealth Fund. In that case, they are also aligned with the EFF and MK, incidentally, and the Patriotic Alliance. 

They want provinces particularly to establish their own financial institutions. Not much detail is given there, but giving the provinces more power where that is concerned is what they would like to see. And then focus on the usual things like investment in infrastructure and so forth. 

What is important, I think, in this case is that they want to order financial institutions or to be able to order financial institutions to invest in prescribed assets. They do not say if this will be compulsory though, and by which laws or in which institutions they are referring to here, but I think it’s a significant thing when it comes to the freedom of the market and for companies to invest in whatever way they wish. So the ANC wants to be as a government more prescriptive in that sense. 

Of course, they want expropriation for land reform acceleration which they think can boost the economy as well. 

And then they want, what it looks like, you know, some of the things that industries, that they can expand for the sake of the economy and job creation…they want South Africa to be a leader in producing hydrogen, electrical vehicles to export, for instance.

And they want to focus on labour intensive industries like agriculture, but there’s not many, much detail in the manifesto on how they want to approach this, what kind of investment and expansion they’re talking about, specifically seeing in the light of the land reform policies they want. Naturally, when it comes to the newer policies, they want to enforce the National Health Insurance, which has now been signed, and hopefully address some of the concerns that South Africans have had and the opposition have had in this regard. 

And then of course, when you talk about crime specifically, something that South Africans are very worried about, they want to implement an Integrated Crime Prevention Strategy, which is a good plan, but it lay dormant for a long time. So it’s about modernising the police service and better resources, better collaboration with community policing forums and so forth, which I think is a good thing. In my very unbiased opinion, I think organisations will certainly also welcome that. 

And then the focus on cybercrime specifically, like I said before, commercial crimes and such. 

And then they finally want to address the backlog for court cases, which I think is also important for addressing crime and corruption.

And the thing they stick with, in line to a certain extent also with the EFF and MK and such, is that the State must be the biggest job creator. To expand the public employment programmes they have, or better support for small businesses and programmes with the South African National Defence Force, for instance, which is something that’s new. And then collaboration with the private sector in some cases.

There’s not too much said about loadshedding, which is also something that South Africans are really worried about. And I think this, the party and the government specifically evidently believe that the worst is over. So they do emphasize the investment in power generation infrastructure, but other than that, not much. 

So a broad view on their manifesto on certain specific areas, not much is new, but there are certain promises that they brought in this round of the elections, which I think is a way to try and modernise their approach.

Chris Steyn (06:40.275)

May we move on to the Opposition Democratic Alliance manifesto, please?

Dr Ina Gouws (06:46.396)

Sure, the DA has been also quite stable in their manifestos over time. They amended some of the things according to the new realities in the country, of course. Also 51 pages. 

They deal with corruption also in a particular way that I think we should emphasize for a moment. For instance, the fact that they want to disband, for instance, the Hawks and replace them with an Anti-Corruption Commission, which is according to them should be then a Chapter Nine institution, and is almost on the model of the old Scorpions that they want to return to. And they want to strengthen the independence also of the National Prosecuting Authority by ensuring that the head of the NPA be appointed by Parliament and not the President. And specifically to fill the vacancies in the National Prosecuting Authority. So these are the things they think will definitely address this fight against corruption, but that is necessary. 

They also focus, as we know, on cadre employment, which is something they want to get rid of entirely, putting it at the centre of the corruption we’ve seen at the moment or in the past few years. And so to get rid of that and make it almost prosecutable if you are guilty of that is what they would like to see. 

As far as economic issues go, they obviously, as we know, also don’t support triple BEE policies. They want incentives for businesses who adhere to more international goals to address inequality and poverty.  So they have a broad view of how this can be addressed or the eradication of inequality and poverty can be addressed with the private sector in particular. And they want partial privatisation of State institutions as we know. And they want limits on how much South Africa can borrow so that we don’t have these large repayments to be made.

Dr Ina Gouws (09:07.388)

And then they want to get rid of red tape for companies to be established and do businesses, something the ANC has also promised for a long time. 

They want new taxes so that investment can be stimulated, which is also something I think is significant for businesses to think on. 

And then they want small businesses to be exempt from collective bargaining so the power of the unions can be curtailed, which I also think is significant and to a certain extent aligns with the Patriotic Alliance, funnily enough, who really want to get unions, you know, the power out of the hands of unions. But the DA wants unions to be required to pay damages also in the case of vandalism during protests and such.

They focus very much on economic relations between the EU and the USA, which is different from what the ANC and the EFF would like, which has their eyes more set on the East for that. 

And then if you look at crime particularly, policing responsibilities, the DA wants it to be decentralised. The ANCs also make such noises. And they want appointments to be and promotions to be on the basis of merit only, which align of course with the anti-cadre deployment views. And they want less senior positions. They want better resources and infrastructure. They are for the police. 

And then as I said before, for cybercrime to be addressed with Artificial Intelligence, just like the ANC wants as well. 

And then they want to make sure that there are safety plans all over rural areas. And this is something the DA has significant focus on, specifically in line of farm murders and attacks and so forth. But they want necessary funding for that to be implemented as well. 

And they want laws to make land grabs criminally prosecutable. 

And then incidentally also, they are for firearms for individuals, but very much regulated for people to be able to defend themselves. And I think there will be much to say about that. 

Want to create 2 million new jobs. They didn’t specify in which sectors though. And they want young people to be in certain aspects exempt from only having to apply for minimum wage jobs, which means they can apply for other jobs as well that pay less but give them an income and some experience. 

And then of course, when it comes to electricity supply, load shedding, they encourage, absolutely encourage private generation and then supply the surplus to the grid and for ESKOM to start focusing more on transmission than generation and unbundling ESKOM of course, as we have said,  but also better investment in infrastructure for transmission in general of electricity, and less import taxes for renewable energy infrastructure.

Chris Steyn (12:36.051)

Okay, may we have a look at the Economic Freedom Fighters of Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema.

Dr Ina Gouws (12:42.172)

Yes, this is a very lengthy document. It’s 259 pages. It’s way too long for a manifesto, but I think probably also a bit of a tactic. 

If you talk about corruption again, there’s not much about corruption elaborated upon, but very much stating that there’s a zero tolerance policy that they will follow when it comes to corruption. 

There are some things they want, even when it comes to addressing certain specific aspects with regards to the economy. And I think they focus a lot on that in this manifesto. 

Some highlights, I think, is the changes they want in the Constitution. And that’s particularly related to the National Prosecuting Authority that they also want to make a Chapter 9 institution to only report to Parliament. They are aligned incidentally with the DA to a certain extent where that is concerned. 

And of course, as we know, they want to nationalise the mines and the Reserve Bank and put that in State control completely.

They want government to be the custodians of all land and that is significant for all sectors of the economy in the country when this happens. Of course, also expropriation without compensation is something they would like to implement and they want limits on how much land one person or company may own.

Also, significantly, they want to double revenue collection. And they want to tax the super rich in the country. And they want higher company tax. So they want the revenue to come from certain places because they are promising to double the amounts of social grants. So they have to find that money somewhere. And in the process, they also want to half the size of government, starting with Cabinet, no deputy ministers and so on – so there are political parties like the DA who also support that notion. 

And then they want a company to manage all municipal workers’ pensions. That, in their view, will protect the pensions and then they want to have more control over that. 

When it comes to crime specifically, they want the police to be better paid, better working conditions, more trained, more police trained and appointed. And incidentally, they all want, you know, all law enforcement officers to have fitness tests every two years. And if they fail, you know, they will summarily be fired. 

And they want to have a DNA Result Bank, if you will, where DNA of all South Africans are stored. And they think that will also happen with this crime prevention and with law enforcement. 

And when it comes to job creation, they want the State to be the biggest job creator. And I think that is something we know about the EFF. And they want very specific companies, State companies, to take care of very specific services like cleaning and landscaping and so forth. They don’t say how this will interact with the current departments that exist in these, in the various levels of government, but that is something that they feel is necessary. 

They want 50% of all South African raw materials to be processed locally and not just export the raw material and then import or buy back the manufactured goods. That is something other parties have also had discussions about as well.

They want a new nuclear power station when it comes to electricity generation or power generation. They, however, want to invest in established power stations that we already have. And they want the private sector to generate 40% of South Africa’s power. Now, with the taxes they want to bring in and all sorts, that might be difficult for the private sector, but these are the kinds of things they think can help power generation, which will help the economy according to them.

Chris Steyn (17:46.163)

Okay, now for the party that everybody is talking about, MK, the party being led by former President Jacob Zuma.

Dr Ina Gouws (17:51.228)

Now MK, yes, MK is now in the mix as well. They have the shortest manifesto I’ve ever seen, 23 pages. So not much detail on how they want to do things, but there are quite a few significant things that voters should take note of. 

Of course, I think we can classify it as a rather radical manifesto. The party is also being seen as being radical. 

To start with, they want a referendum to scrap the Constitution. They find the Constitution to be problematic and detrimental to whatever views and strategies they might have for the country. 

When it comes to the government, which is interesting also, they want a Higher House, like they have the House of Lords in Britain, for instance, specifically for local kings, queens and traditional leaders. So they want their role and their prominence in our National Assembly to be more prominent. 

They want provinces going back to four provinces from nine provinces. Administratively that will definitely have a major impact.

Again, not like the ANC, not talking too much on corruption; they just say that they want more resources for investigative units and such.

They want for economic purposes and economic growth and addressing particularly inequality and historic inequality, they want monetary compensation for Apartheid victims and their families. They don’t say where they think this compensation must come from or how it will be provided or how they will either identify particular families, individuals and their families to benefit from this. But it’s something that’s important to the MK. 

And then the similarities with the EFF, I think, can be just highlighted, the expropriation without compensation aspect, that land must be under the custodianship of the State and traditional leaders. So these are things that they still have in common with the EFF. 

And then there’s a very interesting aspect of their manifesto. It’s a capitalist culture that they want to create where funds are prioritised, particularly for Ubuntu projects. So they want to basically force big South African companies to be noted on the JSE again…they don’t explain how this will work particularly, and then the benefits from that to be for certain programmes. So it’s nationalisation, but also controlling a market. So it’s, it’s, it’s confusing, but I think significant to think about if you’re a voter. 

Ideological issues is also something that they bring in. They want an end to neoliberalism, for instance. And then they say, you know, ending austerity measures should be part of that. And of course, like I said, with the ANC and the EFF, and I think, Patriotic Alliance, they want a Sovereign Wealth Fund. This is, as we know, it’s a State-owned investment company. 

And like the EFF, also they want to establish special economic zones where, you know, specifically focus on mining or manufacturing or whatever to try and drive the economy in a particular direction. 

When it comes to crime, they want a referendum about the death penalty. They are aligned with the Patriotic Alliance where this is concerned. And then they want also, like most other parties, better resources for law enforcement, better collaboration between police. And intelligence organisations is what MK particularly focus on. And if you look at the leadership that they have and their history, you can understand why they focus on that. 

And again, they want the State to be the biggest job creator – and they want 4000 rand plus minimum wage. Again, they don’t indicate how that will be affordable or how they will help make companies able to afford that.

Very interestingly and significantly, they want, like the Patriotic Alliance, to bring back military service, compulsory military conscription for all people 18 and above for one year. For MK that’s about discipline.

And they want to reverse any attempts at unbundling ESKOM when it comes to power generation or any private generation. They want to go back to focusing on coal power expansion in all its ways. So that is MK in a nutshell.

Chris Steyn (23:19.091)

Thank you. Lastly, the party waging a war for the Western Cape, the Patriotic Alliance of Gayton McKenzie.

Dr Ina Gouws (23:27.132)

Yes, that is an interesting notion that I find with not just the Patriotic Alliance, but people, parties like Rise Mzansi and so forth, who really want to focus on the DA, getting them out of the Western Cape. And the Patriotic Alliance has joined this cause, where South Africans sometimes wonder whether they shouldn’t focus on the eight other provinces which are way worse off. But the Patriotic Alliance certainly put their sights on the Western Cape. 

And they are a party with very diverse, radical, also very conservative…It’s a mixed bag of approaches policy-wise that they have here. 

They start with putting religion, particularly Christianity, again at the centre of what they want the country to embrace, if you will. The reintroduction of religious education and schools and so forth, particularly when it comes about Christianity. So in a country like South Africa, which is secular, actually, this will be certainly something voters have to consider. 

They also, like the, like MK, want to elevate traditional leaders and Royal leaders. They want to focus on elevating them in the decision-making process. So there’s a very specific, I think, agenda where that is concerned. 

When it comes to the economy, there are various things that they bring into the conversation.

Dr Ina Gouws (25:34.429)

They want expansion, for instance, when it comes to job creation in the fracking area where they support fracking mining for natural gas and so forth. They want the monopolies in the South African economy to be broken and to have more opportunities. So there is certain people in the private sector who will certainly find that something that they would like. Again, like the ANC and the DA and so forth, support for small- and medium- and micro enterprises. They want support for agricultural value chains, which is also something that that sector of our economy will definitely like to see and hear. 

They want legislation to really crack down on company corruption, white collar corruption and so forth. 

And then when it comes to power generation, of course, a mixed model that they have in their sights for ESKOM which is very pragmatic, I think, in that sense. And also a transition to other forms of energy generation. Like I said, they support fracking, for instance.

Social issues that they, I think we should put some focus on is this, is what they think is an impact on job creation. And that is the presence of illegal immigrants, according to him. And the Patriotic Alliance is going, is very, very adamant of how strict this must be dealt with. They propose mass deportation of people living in South Africa without documents, for instance. They want audits of all foreigners and their papers. They want to build a wall like Donald Trump wants to do in America, for instance. And they want to have a promotion for South Africa as a destination for legal migration or particular skills, but an absolute crackdown on illegal migration. 

So those are things that they as a party really look at. 

And I think when it comes to crime, particularly, I think we can just quickly focus on that. They, apart from the other things that they agree with other parties with infrastructure and better resources for the police and so forth, they want cops to face random integrity tests, clamping down on confiscated firearms lost by the police service, very specific practical things they want to focus on, but they don’t indicate how they think that can happen and that can be achieved. 

And generally having a promise of a corruption-free government that they want.

So when it comes to companies, particularly when it comes to crime, they want to criminalise anti-competitive conduct, which means monopolies. As I said, they want to get rid of manipulation from private companies in any way. They want to blacklist companies for five years and so forth if they are guilty of such things. 

And they also want to tax the super rich much more than the average South Africans. But they are pragmatic yet again, in not wanting to make those taxes so high that companies will disinvest. 

So, as radical as they are on certain things, they are very pragmatic in others. So that’s the Patriotic Alliance, you know, in a nutshell, again, very diverse types of directions that they have: Pragmatic, radical, also very conservative. And I think that’s what makes them such an interesting party to watch.

Chris Steyn (30:18.483)

Thank you, that was Dr. Ina Gouws of the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State, taking BizNews viewers through the manifestos of five parties that are making headlines in the run-up to next week’s historic election. Thank you very much, Dr. Gouws. I am Chris Steyn.

Dr Ina Gouws (30:38.268)

My honour, thank you.

Read also: