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SA's multiparty democracy more of a two horse race - analyst

7 November 2016 9:10 PM

Political analyst David Maimela looks at whether opposition politics is the future in South Africa's democracy.

Political analyst David Maimela says that the proliferation of opposition political parties in South Africa does not necessarily indicate a stronger democracy.

Many people across the country and outside the country are saying if you have a multiparty system, then the quality of democracy is better. But if you look at our system at the moment, on paper it says multiparty, but actually its a two horse race.

David Maimela, political analyst

Speaking to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo, Maimela says that despite the perception that more political parties in the country means the greater pool of voices in the political sphere, two parties remain dominant in the country's electorate.

You do not see the connection between the multiparty system and the plurality of voices and the plurality of policies.

David Maimela, political analyst

Addressing a rally at Dumbe in KwaZulu Natal recently, President Jacob Zuma recently said that at the moment there is no space for democracy related debates with opposition parties in the country, as opposition parties are quick to run to court.

Maimela says that despite the country's multiparty democracy allowing for more opposition parties, when a single party dominates the electorate, their policies become national policies, affecting the impact of opposition parties.

What is it that informs the voter to vote the way that they do. Is it because the policies of the party are okay, is it because of proper leadership, is it because the rhetoric is appealing. Normally you would find it is a combination of all these things that make voters to vote the way they do.

David Maimela, political analyst

Maimela says that there are two macro-political trends which are creating tension in South Africa - the decline of the ANC which has enabled space for more opposition parties; and the country's contradictory economic environment which has allowed a few black million South Africans access to the country's economy, but which has also widened inequality.

Listen to the conversation below:


7 November 2016 9:10 PM