17 March 2014

South Africa: Unisa - an Election Debate to Forget


As elections near, political parties are rolling out leaders on an endless cycle of public debates (not President Zuma, of course). GREG NICOLSON went to see the ANC, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Democratic Alliance (DA), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) at Unisa, Pretoria, on Monday night and found little of interest but a lot of Nkandla questions and an unlikely victor.

The politicians at the debate presented a gallery of the ANC in the last 20 years. The EFF's Floyd Shivambu sat with Cope General Secretary Lyndall Shope-Malofe to his right. The ANC's Thoko Didiza was next, flanked by UDM President Bantu Holomisa. Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota and ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete were billed to appear but both sent colleagues instead.

Former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa was in the front row in his role on the university's council. The DA's Mmusi Maimane and the ACDP's Joanne Downs filled the last two chairs, joining Didiza as the only panelists not expelled or defected from the governing party.

The opposition parties took similar lines: South Africa is a better place than it was 20 years ago, but democracy and citizens' livelihoods is threatened by corruption...

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