/ 14 April 2024

Mail & Guardian and University of Fort Hare to host National Election Debate

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South Africans will once again go to the polls on 29 May in what is believed by many will be the most significant election since the first democratic elections held in 1994.

The national and provincial elections mark 30 years of our democracy — three decades of the democratic project — which began with the Government of National Unity led by Nelson Mandela in 1994.

The historic election takes place at a time when the country is at a political, economic and ethical crossroads, dealing as it is with the impact of state capture, the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, widespread service failure and turmoil on the international front.

New political players have entered the arena, with more parties contesting this election than any other in our history; and independent candidates will be able to stand for the first time. Renewed breakaways from the governing party — whose hegemony has never been seriously threatened since 1994 — pose the possibility of a loss of its parliamentary majority for the first time. South Africans face the reality that a coalition may govern them after May.

As part of our contribution to facilitating and encouraging debate on the key issues facing South Africans going into the elections — and to help readers, viewers and the broader public better understand the parties and what they have to offer — the Mail & Guardian is hosting a series of Town Hall engagements around the country.

We have partnered with the country’s historically black universities to do so, bringing politicians and leaders onto campuses across the country, from which these live debates will be broadcast.

The first of these, held at the University of Limpopo in March, was a resounding success, and brought together politicians, civil society, business and the youth in a robust and at times highly entertaining debate.

The second Town Hall will be held at the University of Fort Hare on 17 April 2024, with top leaders of the five biggest parties engaged in what is set to be a fascinating panel discussion.

READ MORE HERE | mg.co.za/nationalelectiondebate/

It will be moderated by Mail & Guardian Political Editor Lizeka Tandwa and opening remarks will be delivered by Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Fort Hare.

For the University of Fort Hare, the National Election Debate forms part of centenary celebrations for Professor ZK Matthews, the institution’s first graduate and the architect of the freedom charter.

Panellists will include:

ANC NEC Member Parks Tau*,
Economic Freedom Fighters Deputy President Floyd Shivambu,
Democratic Alliance Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube,
Inkatha Freedom Party Deputy President Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi and,
ActionSA Eastern Cape Premier Candidate Athol Trollip


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* ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile has been replaced