Unlike the US, South Africa has more than two major political parties.  There are actually 13 parties in parliament. Can you imagine having to pick between 13 people for every political position? It seems a bit daunting. But on the flip side, I would be happy with more choices on a US ballot.  It would eliminate the “picking the lessor of two evils” so many American’s bitch about.  But I’m sure political apathy would still keep turnout low.

Of the 13 parties these are the 3 largest, and the ones that are in the news the most.

The ANC (African National Congress). This party has been in power since Nelson Mandela was elected president when apartheid ended. I’ve tried to determine exactly what the party platform is, but it seems a bit muddled. They claim to be a “social democratic party”. Under Jacob Zuma there were numerous charges of corruption.

The DA (Democratic Alliance) This is the governing party of the Western Cape province ( where Cape Town is). They are the main opposition to the ANC. The DA is considered centrist.

The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters)  These guys have a very interesting reputation. They all wear red and have been known to walk out of parliament if things they don’t agree with are being discussed. They are a socialist party, and attack the ANC and DA for being too pro-business. They have also been accused of racism for various inflammatory statements.

There is a lot of hope that with Jacob Zuma gone and Cyril Ramaphosa now the president that t everything will improve. I’ll be curious to see what steps Ramaphosa takes to address corruption that is pretty rampant in the government.

Water Crisis tie in for bonus points: There are reports that the DA requested funding from the national government (the ANC) several years ago to get some alternate water sources up and running that would have avoided the steps we are taking. The charges are that the ANC stalled in an effort to punish the DA, so the voters would side with the ANC in the next election. The counter claim is that the DA created the crisis by mismanaging the water resources.. Other claims are that the DA over stated how critical the water issue was to get some press in an effort to put pressure on the ANC. There are some folks that feel that the water crisis is fake, I assume they are also members of the flat earth society.

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