Undoubtedly, the highlight of South Africa’s political landscape in 2019 will be the sixth national and provincial elections scheduled for sometime in May.
Electioneering by political parties will be at an all-time high as the much anticipated elections draw ever closer, with parties attempting to sway voters by all manner and promises.
But it is by no means the only key date in the first half of 2019. City Press takes a look at the other key political events to look out for leading up to the elections.
The ANC broke the ice on the first day of the New Year and launched its elections campaign on Tuesday in KwaZulu-Natal, flying a massive banner attached to a chopper.
The banner was also an invitation to citizens countrywide to join the party for its January 8 celebrations, which marks the ANC’s 107th birthday, taking place in Inanda, according to Mhlabunzima Memela, national media relations manager for the ANC.
On January 11, the ANC will be hosting a preview of the manifesto launch which will take place at the Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
The party’s manifesto launch, which is expected to kickstart its election campaign will take place on January 12 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
On Wednesday, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane and the party’s candidate for Gauteng premier, Solly Msimanga, launched the DA’s 2019 voter registration poster at the Baragwanath Taxi Rank in Soweto.
The party raised awareness among residents of the looming final voter registration weekend, which will be on January 26 and 27.
The parliamentary calendar has set aside January 7 to 28 as the constituency period for its members. This time is for parliamentarians to spend in their communities doing electorate work.
Former mayor and DA member Patricia de Lille last year announced that her new political movement, Good - which will be contesting elections this year - will announce its policy position and launch its manifesto sometime this month.
The state capture commission is also expected to recommence in January after it adjourned for the festive session.
Testimonies from those who have appeared before the commission have painted a worrying picture of the ANC’s role, or lack thereof, in the alleged capture of the state - meaning the commission and the revelations made before it will surely influence how the electorate votes.
The EFF will hold their own manifesto launch on February 2 at the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve.
The party’s leader, Julius Malema, is confident over his party’s prospects during the upcoming elections saying that his party was going into the “boxing ring hoping for a win”.
After delivering his debut State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2018, shortly after the resignation of former president Jacob Zuma, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver his second SONA on February 7, a day that will also mark the opening of Parliament.
This second SONA for Ramaphosa will be a significant one for the incumbent president, as citizens will be anxiously awaiting how he will tackle the current political and socio-economic issues the country faces leading up to the elections.
Also scheduled for February will be newly appointed finance minister, Tito Mboweni’s much anticipated budget speech.
Having painted a bleak picture of the country’s fiscus during his medium-term budget policy statement in October, attention will turn to Mboweni’s plans to boost growth and prevent debt from spiralling out of control during his first budget presentation.
The national budget is also expected to be a key pressure point in determining how a lot of South Africans vote in May.
An absence of concrete plans to boost economic growth in Mboweni’s speech could trigger a change to negative in the outlook on South Africa’s credit ratings, and with citizens feeling the pinch the ruling party could face the people’s test at the polls.
Lawmakers will report to Parliament on March 31 as they recomend changes to the Constitution that will make it easier to expropriate land without compensation.
While these steps form part of the ruling party’s plan to accelerate wealth redistribution, the EFF has consistently claimed that the ruling party merely adopted a stance that it had taken for a while.
The DA has maintained that it does not support any changes to the Constitution. The party my join lobby groups gearing up to fight the process in court.
Again, the stance of all political parties on the matter may affect how the majority of South Africans, who live in the most unequal society in the world, would vote.
2019 marks 25 years of democracy in South Africa and millions of voters will take to the polls with the outcome not necessarily guaranteed for any political party.
Polls show the ANC maintaining its majority, but losing a lot of ground to opposition parties.
A survey conducted by Afrobarometer in October showed that there was a rise from 4% to 11% for the EFF and a decrease from 60% in the last elections for the ANC, to 48%. While a survey by the Institute of Race Relations also showed a similar trend
Ramaphosa, who is the face of the ANC’s campaign, is set to use the trump card of having cleaned up the ANC’s image and implementing an economic growth plan since taking over.