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EDINBURGH — In the 1990s, South Africans were united under the Rainbow Nation and energised by massive change to legislation and a concerted drive to develop social cohesion after the end of Apartheid. For a while, the South African economy was buzzing, its house prices soaring in the 2000s as positive investor sentiment from locals and international players pumped up sectors of the economy. But, corruption and poor political decisions have taken their toll, with many – black and white – abusing the Black Economic Empowerment laws that had the intention of uplifting the previously disadvantaged but the result of enriching an elite. Today, unemployment remains staggeringly high and, as you would expect, violent and other crimes remain a feature of life in South Africa. Corruption stretches deep and wide and the state is failing to provide the basics, from high quality education for all to electricity to keep the country running 24/7. The BizNews #Election2019 survey results reflect the frustrations and hopes of voters as they get set to go to the polling stations in May. – Jackie Cameron
By Thulasizwe Sithole
Urban, educated South Africans are tired of waiting for an improvement to the economy, with strong support for the new capitalist-oriented ZACP indicated in the results of the first #Election2019 survey.
South Africans go to the voting stations on May 8. The ANC is usually the favourite in the national race, but, after years of mismanagement and rampant corruption, it has lost its sheen among many of its once-loyal supporters.
The findings so far show that the DA is favourite in South Africa’s cities among BizNews visitors, but it has a competitor in the form of the ZACP – which is liked more as a choice than the ANC on the national and provincial ballot papers.
The wear-and-tear of the Zuma years is showing, with the ZACP – run by journalists who have chosen a purple cow as their emblem – outpacing the ANC as the preferred choice to win in the ballots among BizNews visitors.
The BizNews survey takes in the views of nearly 3,000 people – mostly resident in the major economic hubs of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. While the election results are traditionally heavily influenced by the masses in rural areas, this survey gives a flavour of how the captains of industry, entrepreneurs, professionals and aspirant and industrious white and blue collar workers view the performance of the country’s leaders.
But, while most BizNews community members appear to dislike the ANC, they favour Cyril Ramaphosa as president.
Comments by respondents reflect the difference in sentiment for business-savvy Ramaphosa and the rest of the ANC.
“Cyril has my vote but the ANC is destroying our country. Cyril needs to break away from the ANC and start a new party, he is wasted in the ANC, I wish Cyril well and our only hope for our beautiful country full of citizens who have long been sidelined,” noted one respondent.
Others underscored the overwhelming fatigue with corruption and government ineptitude.
“The untold damage to the economy, the key agent in facilitating widespread corruption and the destruction of the countries key institutions by the ANC should be reason no body should vote for the ANC,” said one BizNews visitor who completed the survey.
“Its time for change, the ANC offers nothing but corruption and maladministration, we need jobs, we need stability and we need true equality,” said another.
“The ruling party has failed dismally in all departments. It is time for a complete change,” was another common refrain in the survey comments.
The DA has much work to do, too, to improve its image.
“It’s time for the ANC old timers to be booted out of government! I do not trust the DA to forsake white interests for the good of the country! EFF too has some bad apples, but we need a change in our politics,” said one respondent.
Many admit that they will be following their heads, rather than their hearts, with tactical votes in the booths, but that’s a contentious point for others.
Said one respondent: “Don’t waste your vote on small parties that can’t make an impact in your life and future”. This is the most undemocratic statement any party could ever make! Vote for a party that stands firm on your shared principles and cast your ballot for your party regardless of how small, young or inexperienced the party may (or may not) be. That should never impact your decision!”
Some voters will put their crosses next to the parties that are going to push for change.
“I am voting for the party who I believe will be the best for South Africa. Fair and impartial to race, colour or religion,” said one voter.
Others agree. “I want a government that is honest & understands economics. Freedom Front Plus may be small, but will be a meaningful opposition in parliament, they are not scared to stand up to corruption, & have the greater good at heart,” commented a respondent.
Added another: “In 2014 6.4 million registered voters didn’t vote. That’s more than half the ANC’s votes. Your vote matters so come 8th May go out and vote. #ZACP #DA.”
Add your voice by completing the #Election2019 BizNews survey.
See the full comments here.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.