Below is a brief interview Political Analysis South Africa’s Stephanie Naidoo had with Political Analyst, Professor Somadoda Fikeni, on his analysis in the run-up to the 2019 Elections.
Interviewer: We have a year and a half to go, in the run-up, to 2019 elections; what is your evaluation of the prospects, strategies and positioning of political parties, especially opposition parties?
Well, I do think that their first point of reflection and concern will be whether coalition arrangements will work or not, because, right now, they are facing an experiment of arranging the coalition, and if the coalition succeeds – being able to demonstrate that success in a kind of reform. The second one, will mainly be to see if there are flagship programmes that they can succeed implementing in the Municipalities they have; especially arranging compromises, because in their psychology, they are quite mindful that no one of their parties will jump from where there are, to having fifty plus one percent – at most they could win some of the provinces, so they will have to be working with a whole range of other role-players. So, that in itself makes coalition politics a semi-permanent feature in their strategic planning; not ideologies per se. Of course, most of the emphasis at this stage is on corruption, and efficiency in service delivery; but where they are are not strong, is in the area of socio-economic transformation, because that is where the wave is going at this moment.
Do you think that the factionalism in the ANC, and the charges of corruption against the President, for example, will have an effect on the ANC’S success in the 2019 elections?
Of course. If the ANC does not handle its election of leadership, or if there are allegations that the process has been corrupted, then you even have a (splinter) and the alliance partnership might actually fracture, and break away. If that happens, then the ANC may suffer in the elections, however, this should also be a function of how opposition parties are position themselves, because it is not just the decline of the ANC, but it is also the weakness of the opposition, or its strengths, that can tell us whether they will consolidate the successes they saw in local government recently. Remember, once you remove the Zuma factor in 2019, and you have new leadership, the non-voting segment of the South African population – which is often seen as being supportive of the ANC, in itself becomes a very important factor.
In South Africa, it is claimed, that we have an issue of coalitions of convenience, which are non-compliant and inevitably fail because they do not seem to serve a common purpose. Do you think that coalition arrangements have a prospect of success come 2019?
It will, because the ANC, the DA and the other parties understand that the possibility of them not getting the fifty plus one percent, is quite high, therefore they will do everything to make sure that they work on coalitions. Whether these are perfect or not, they know that this is the most pragmatic, practical prospect they are facing.