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Four pertinent issues stand out in this election

Lecturer of Economics at Mangosuthu University of Technology and independent analyst, Precious Lugayeni, gives her perspective on four pertinent issues standing out in this election.

The first issue is that of the race for three specific metros: Tshwane, City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay. The race for these metros have been so strongly contested, one would think that the elections are about these metros only. This is because political parties spent a lot of time campaigning for them. By implication, it means that the rural voters are considered as guaranteed by political parties – specifically the ANC.

The second issue is the pre-election killings that have occurred. We have seen a lot of politically motivated killings centred on contention regarding candidacy. The danger with this is that it may have a negative impact on South Africa’s standing as a democracy in the SADC region. What has been evident from these killings is that they happened within the ANC. These killings are the climax of the in-fighting within the ANC and it remains to be seen what impact they will have on the voters.

Thirdly, it is important that these elections are truly free and fair. This is because any violence occurring before, during and after the elections will have a negative impact on how the rating agencies – which are coming in December – rate South Africa. We are currently at a negative outlook so if we are downgraded it will mean terrible things for South African economy. In fact, we are one level above junk status, which means a downgrade will take us below investment level.

Lastly, these elections come at a time when our economy is not doing well. The buzz-words in government are “cost-cutting measures” and “austerity measures”. This means that municipalities may get less budget than they used to get and therefore may be required to accomplish more with less. Coupled with that, is the problem of qualified audits, which are also referred to as financial mismanagement. It is therefore important for municipalities to do what they can to obtain clean audit. It is worrying that political parties in their manifestos mentioned little or nothing about introducing measures for financial management.

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