​Record number of political parties contesting 2019 polls

The largest number of political parties are contesting for the Gauteng province, with voters able to choose between 36 parties. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The largest number of political parties are contesting for the Gauteng province, with voters able to choose between 36 parties. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

A new evangelical Christian political party with a “righteous calling to politics” and another representing security guards contributed to a record number of political players who are contesting the upcoming 2019 general election.

Forty-eight parties will appear on the national ballot in 2019, 19 more than those registered in 2014.

This is despite a trend in the 2014 election in which smaller parties massively declined in support with many new parties launched at the time, failing to make it into Parliament.

While there is a massive growth in political parties, only a handful are recognisable.

The African Covenant Party is a newcomer to the political terrain, seemingly based on an evangelical Christian outlook.

It is led by pastor Dr Convy Baloyi who describes himself as a “born-again child of God, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, an ordained priest”. Baloyi believes the party has a “righteous mandate for politics”.

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Another newcomer is the African Security Congress targeting security guards. Its Facebook page says it will fight for the rights of the security sector in Parliament to ensure that its members are treated the same as members of the SA Police Service.
This party won the coveted first slot on the ballot paper.

The African Renaissance Unity Party, another newcomer, claims to represent “traditional leaders”.

The more well known newcomers include former Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille’s Good party, Andile Mngxitama’s Black First Land First, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party and Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement.

The embattled National Freedom Party, a 2014 breakaway from the Inkatha Freedom Party, is back despite the leadership crisis in the party in recent years.

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This was announced by the Electoral Commission of South Africa on Wednesday during an event to mark the signing of the electoral code of conduct by political parties.

The largest number of political parties are contesting for the Gauteng province, with voters able to choose between 36 parties.

Natasha Marrian

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