2019 a rough year ahead for political parties

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As South Africa enters the new year, electioneering by political parties is likely to be intense ahead of the much anticipated national and provincial elections. The African National Congress (ANC ) has had a fair share of challenges.

2019 marks 25 years of democracy in South Africa and millions of voters take to the polls. The outcomes are not necessarily guaranteed for any political party.

The ANC has had a difficult 2018, which could jeopardise its chances of an outright majority win. Factionalism and elusive unity are the main challenges.

There were reports of an unofficial meeting by top ANC leaders that included former president Jacob Zuma and the current party Secretary General, Ace Magashule.

“We have agreed that moving forward we don’t need to have – people must meet and engage provinces must be able to invite one another so that they don’t meet in corners. That’s basically what we have agreed,” said Magashule at the time.

The ANC will launch it’s election manifesto on the 12th of January in Durban. The province in which the SG addressed an audience, remarking that “it is just a matter of five years” and the ANC will get back to normality.

Political analyst, Professor Stephen Freidman, says the party’s challenges are a result of continuing divisions and factional battles.

“The ANC is still a deeply factionalised organisation. My own belief is that the ANC was only able to elect a leader because the two factions agreed to divide position amongst them. Therefor whenever you get a chance to elect someone in your faction into power – then it becomes a source of conflict and this conflict has become increased in some way because we have a general election in May.”

The phenomenon of ANC vs ANC through the courts is still frustrating the party. Mpumalanga and the North West continue to reach out to the national leadership on the issue of the party’s national list conference. However, Ramaphosa is confident of an outright majority in the coming elections.

“We go to those elections renewed and feeling much stronger than we have in the past – so the ANC is getting back its module if one can say that – it’s getting back its strength; it’s getting back its commitment to serve the people of South Africa.”

While the ANC’s election of Ramaphosa as president of the country has generated some positivity, it remains to be seen whether this will translate into the votes for the party.