As the year winds down, political parties are continuing to make the headlines with the on-going factional battles in the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), the public spat between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the African National Congress’s (ANC) release of names of its public representatives that will be considered for deployment to the National Assembly after the 2019 elections.

There is a concern that political wrangling in the PAC could see Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s idea of Pan-Africanism condemned to the dustbins of history with fears that the party could lose its only seat in the National Assembly and be wiped off from the country’s political landscape.

The PAC held another elective congress this week.

Mzwanele Nyontso was elected as party president, a move which Narious Moloto, the president of another PAC faction, described as illegal. Observers say the on-going infighting could spell the beginning of the end for the PAC.

Political analyst Professor Steven Friedman says PAC leaders are detached from reality and are more concerned about their differences than building the party.

“The ANC has a rich history just like the PAC after having fought side-by-side to dismantle the evil system of apartheid is looking forward to fielding its public representatives in the next Parliament. On Friday the ANC made public the list of those who will be considered for deployment to the National Assembly after the 2019 elections. The party’s acting national spokesperson is Dakota Legoete,” says Friedman.

ANC Acting Spokespersin Dakota Legoete says, “The provisional list of 800 names is a mix bag of experience with more than 50% of returning MP’s. Although former president Jacob Zuma is in the 74th spot he is unlikely to accept the nomination as this could lead to a salary cut as an MP and thus losing his presidential benefits. In addition Zuma is still facing corruption charges relating to the arms deal. Legoete says all public representatives will be vetted to ensure compliance with the IEC requirements.”

The week was also dominated by the public spat between the EFF and Sanef. The editors’ forum lodged a complaint with the Equality Court against EFF leader Julius Malema and his party for threatening and harassing journalists on various platforms, including social media.

Sanef Chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase says that media freedom is under threat.

And in return EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has accused Sanef and some journalists of bias and trying to prevent the red berets from expressing themselves.

“Some analysts believe the spat raises the question of the role of the media and the rights of political parties. They say the parties and the media need to be engaged in a relationship based on mutual respect and honesty,” says Ndlozi.

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