Elections are around the corner, with polls opening on 8 May. You can ensure that you are registered and find where you need to vote on the IEC website.
This article serves as my and the Rational Standard’s team succinct guide to the 2019 elections – with brief explanations of the issues, parties and our suggestions for voting. We also list some of our related articles so that you can learn more.
The Voting System
South Africa has a proportional representation system, meaning that parties gain seats in Parliament proportional to their share of the votes. In this way, no vote is truly wasted, as it contributes towards proportions of votes. Even if your party doesn’t get enough votes for a seat, you still contributed to increasing the proportion of votes not going to the party you oppose.
The only real wasted vote is voting for a party you hate.
There are always many issues surrounding every election, but the 2019 election rests firmly on the following issues:
Expropriation Without Compensation: Property rights are under real threat in South Africa, and many people remember what happened to Zimbabwe after similar expropriations happened to farms there. Of all issues affecting the country, this may be the direst.
Economic Stability: This issue is interlinked with the rest, but standalone as it effectively encompasses the need for a sound credit rating, responsible fiscal spending and monetary policy, proper efforts to bring unemployment under control, and policies to stop the economy from further shrinking.
Electricity: While it is quite vapid and overdone on election posters, it is true that electricity and keeping the lights on is a very important issue for many South Africans. Electricity is in dire straits because the monopoly provider Eskom threatens to keel over every few seconds. Fixing this crucial resource is an extremely important issue.
Crime and Corruption: Crime against private citizens and corruption affecting state coffers are both interrelated issues that are driving forces for many voters.
Many voters will be focusing on these issues when they go to the polls. While single-issue voting isn’t that popular in South Africa, some of these issues may push voters (decided and undecided) towards a new party.
My Party Endorsements
There are a lot of parties registered for the 2019 elections. So, for this section we will just be focusing on the parties that we either endorse or tolerate, and then the parties that we cannot stand.
Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP): The only party running that has taken a firm stand for libertarian free market values is the Capitalist Party. The party is made up of entrepreneurs and classical liberals and is a first choice for many of us at RS. They will only be running on the national ballot, so ensure you pick a different party on the provincial ballot. Look for the purple cow.
Congress of the People (COPE): Mosiuoa Lekota has become a liberal-leaning icon for his firm stand against expropriation and in favour of property rights, attracting many liberals to COPE’s banner. While the party was a split from the African National Congress, it seems to be carving out its own identity as a much more free market-centric alternative.
Freedom Front (FF+): The FF+ is a hard choice for many due to its public identity as an Afrikaner conservative party. While it has some questionable background, it firmly supports private property rights and opposes expropriation, making them a safe choice if your focus is property rights.
Cape Party (CP): The Cape Party has been mocked in the past for its desire for the Cape to secede from the rest of South Africa, but it hasn’t ceased running in elections, making steady gains over its lifespan. While secession is not an easy task, a vote for the Cape Party on the Western Cape provincial ballot will challenge the DA hegemony, which is sorely needed in the local legislature.
Democratic Alliance (DA): This is a very tentative endorsement, based only on certain circumstances. While I am about to condemn the DA below, it is reasonable to indicate that the DA does have a good track record of governance in most of the areas in which it governs locally. For most of South Africa, it is reasonable to vote for the DA on a provincial level.
My Party Condemnations
DA: While I advise voting for the DA on a provincial level, I cannot do the same on a national level. The official opposition has become a soulless mass party, with questionable marketing tactics, toxic public officials and barely any intellectual discourse or policy engagement. The DA needs to lose voting share this election, so it can get a wake-up call. It cannot keep treating its traditional voters like fodder, while embracing more and more ANC policies (if not even worse socialist policies). As a liberal, I cannot endorse the DA except under the direst local election circumstances.
African National Congress (ANC): It should go without saying that the monolithic corruption cult and ruling party should not receive your vote. If you don’t know why, then spend a few minutes on this site (or pretty much any other reputable South African news source). Some think Ramaphosa makes the ANC worth voting for. They are wrong.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF): The EFF are avowed Marxist-Leninists, following an ideology that has led to millions dead. Their ideas are unworkable flights of fancy at best, and economically disastrous and dangerous at worst. Don’t judge the EFF primarily by their barbaric behaviour in Parliament, protests, student councils and public, but also by what they want to do: Turn this country into a Venezuela-Zimbabwe hybrid.
Black First Land First (BLF): The BLF are effectively the EFF with less clout. They should be opposed for the same reasons.
Voting is a combination of tactics and principle. Tactics are important to ensure the effectiveness of your vote, but effectiveness is ultimately defined by your goal, which is determined by your principles. If you are not voting based on principles, you might as well not vote at all.
For this election, do not be tricked by the lies about the ineffectiveness of small parties. Principle matters, and you should vote for the party that best serves your principles.
Rational Standard commentators have written more on the 2019 elections. Please refer to the following articles for more articles that may be of interest:
- Debunking the “Don’t Vote For A Small Party!” Myth
- My Election Disillusionment
- Split Votes Shouldn’t Be A Concern in the 2019 Elections
- What I Hope For In The ZACP
- DA’s ‘Manifesto for Change’: Heavy on Government, Light on Liberty
- Election Guide 2019
- A Constitutional Analysis of the Capitalist Party Manifesto
- ANC, EFF, and UDM Have Lost All Moral Legitimacy
- Be Wary of Being Implored to Vote Your Hopes, Not Your Fears
- Hostages of Hope: It’s Time To Be Realistic About South Africa’s Future
- Why Classical Liberals Should Vote in the 2019 Election
- Advice for Ramaphosa for Appealing to Voters
- 3 Parties You Should Not Vote For – And One You Should Consider
- Election 2019: It Is Our Turn To Be Revolutionaries
- ZACP: The Best Chance of Breaking SA from the Curse of Dependence