5 May 2014

South Africa: Size Doesn't Count - Smaller Parties Wrap Up Their Campaigns


On Monday morning, political parties contesting this year's general election must conclude their election campaign. For the next two days parties are meant to be observing a "campaign silence" while voters mull their choices. According to some, the 48-hour campaign silence is a crucial cooling-off period to reduce tensions and any potential for conflict on Election Day. This weekend, then, was the last chance for parties to reach voters. KHADIJA PATEL gathered the final messages of some of some of the smaller parties contesting this election.

In the Bekkersdal taxi rank, as squawking chickens complain of imminent death, residents talk furtively of political hostility, intimidation and fear. Unlike the chickens, their fears do not lie in the vision of a sharpened knife, nor is its fate dependent on a taste for fried bird. Residents say a public articulation of their political positions may endanger their lives and property.

And indeed some parties appear to be as territorial as leopards, who defend their territories against the encroaching advances of rivals by spraying urine and leaving warning claw marks on tree trunks. Here in Bekkersdal, posters and party regalia are used much the same way.

As tensions simmer, hundreds of extra police...

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