Political parties lay down 2023 plans in New Year’s day messages

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Political parties have vowed to intensify their efforts in holding government accountable in 2023. Delivering their New Year’s messages, parties have called on South Africans to set their eyes on the 2024 elections.

They say 2022 was marred by challenges that included rolling blackouts, increases in food and fuel prices, gender-based violence (GBV) cases and high unemployment rates among others.

Political parties have used their new year’s messages to call for South Africans to rally together for change. Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, has called on citizens to use 2023 to reflect on the state of the country.

Steenhuisen has urged South Africans to vote for change as the country is expected to hold its general elections in 2024.

Pundits warn that the African National Congress (ANC) may show a further decline in electoral support after a poor performance in the 2021 local government elections.

In his new year’s message, the leader of the official opposition says the electorate is able to reduce the high levels of crime and elect a capable government through the ballot.

“We’re standing on the cusp of big change. Try to imagine what South Africa could look like if we were just able to change a number of critical things. If we were to reduce our high crime numbers, if we were to bring down the cost of food, if we were to redirect all the resources and budget of the state towards delivering services, if we were to prioritise our children’s education, safety and nutrition. If we were to build a state with qualified people capable of actually delivering all of these things. It is possible, we can achieve all of this so let us use this year to visualise what it is we want for our country and then make it real through our votes”, emphasises Steenhuisen.

The United Democratic Movement(UDM) has called for law enforcement agencies to strengthen their efforts in fighting corruption in 2023. The party warns that failure to hold those who plunder state resources accountable, will compromise the economy. The UDM has been vocal in its calls to eradicate corruption, calling for investigations into President Cyril Ramaphosa over the Phala Phala farm saga. It’s expected to intensify efforts to get answers from the President on what transpired at his farm in 2020.

“May this be a year where there is closer co-operation amongst law enforcement agncies to deal with lawlessness and corruption in South Africa, so that our economy can find its way back because as long as we don’t prosecute those who are stealing government monies, we must forget that we will ever again see prosperity in this country. Have a blessed and prosperous new year,” announced Holomisa.

The Congress of the People, COPE, has called for more arrests in relation to state capture in the new year. Last year saw Chief Justice and State Capture Commission Chairperson, Raymond Zondo, hand over all instalments of the report to the President. There have been several arrests following the release of the report. Former Transnet Group Chief Executive, Brian Molefe and former Finance Head, Anoj Singh, were arrested on charges relating to the over 90-million rand which Transnet paid Trillian for organising a 30-billion rand loan to help buy over one-thousand locomotives in 2015.

The country has also seen the arrest of alleged associates such as Angelo Agrizzi and Siyabonga Gama among others on various matters. However, there has been criticism at the slow pace of arrests particularly in relation to high profile political figures.

“We want to see that President Ramaphosa implements the Zondo Commissions recommendations. We want to see action. We want to see all those fingered in the Zondo Commissions report be arrested and sent to jail. We want to see them in orange uniform”, says COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF), has hailed South Africans for their resilience despite facing challenges in the past year. The party says some of the challenges that faced the country include high unemployment levels, increases in food and fuel prices as well as racism and high levels of violence against women and children.

“The Economic Freedom Fighters wishes you a prosperous 2023 that is defined by economic freedom and justice for all people on the continent and in the diaspora. The year 2022 was filled with continued hardship for africans. Our unemployment levels in South Africa continued to be the highest in the world. The cost of living became unbearable as food and fuel prices increase, racism and violence against women and children remained persistent,” says EFF spokesperson LeighAnn Mathys.

The ANC has, however, vowed to intensify its efforts in creating a better life for all South Africans in the new year. This year, the party will celebrate its 111th birthday in Bloemfontein in the Free State – where its newly elected Top 7 are expected to convene.

The ANC’s January 8 statement is often used to set the tone for the party for the year. The party says the task of creating decent living conditions for South Africans will require members to unite.

“As we welcome the start of 2023, and to mark 111 years since the existence of our glorious movement, the African National Congress, we commit to increasing the pace of renewing our movement to serve our people faster, better and effectively. The task ahead requires that we foster unity both in action and in deeds. In 2023, we will once more double our efforts to realise the noble promise of a better life for all,” promises ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Political parties already have their sights set on general elections in 2024, in the hope of further eroding support for the ANC.

Last year saw opposition parties rally together against the ANC in an attempt to have President Cyril Ramaphosa impeached, and it seems this year may be no different.