© Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

South Africa’s most important election since 1994 may deliver the first coalition government in a democratic South Africa. However, as political parties vie for the votes of South Africans: How do citizens make the choice of where to put their mark? Who can they trust to give voice to their aspirations and help rebuild and grow Africa’s most developed economy to benefit more people in the world’s most unequal society?


A large proportion of South Africans surprisingly claim to have no interest in politics, or to be bored or frustrated by the country’s politics that their choice of approach is subtle or plain ignorance. However, conversations in taxis, at the workplace, in cafes, at the salon, in taverns, at places of worship or even around the braai are often dominated by politics anyway with every South African unlikely not to have at the very least an opinion on the prevailing political news of the day.

Politics affects every aspect of our lives in South Africa whether we know it or not and regardless of our feelings towards it. These informal discussions happening across the country are no different in substance to the debates happening in national parliament, provincial legislatures, or local councils. With the crux being the aspirations, complaints and ultimately the will of the South African people taking centre stage.

Political parties are meant to be the custodians of the South African people’s wishes and desires. It would therefore make sense that all South Africans are eligible to choose a political party at election time to carry their personal mandate. Unfortunately, South Africa’s democracy is suffering from a growing apathy with fewer eligible voters wanting to express themselves at the ballot box. The regression is clear with a voter turnout of almost 90% at South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 dropping down to just 65% in 2019 (1).

Although this corresponds with a growing global political apathy in both developed and developing nations, it should never be accepted. The aim of this book is to provide an easily accessible reference for all South Africa’s eligible voters to refer to in finding the political party that best represents their aspirations for the country they call home. In a simple and accessible way, this book summarises the major political parties’ standpoints on key issues in South African society, providing the reader with key insight into where they should leave their mark come election day. Reading this book will not solve the problems you experience as a citizen; however, it will empower you to make an informed decision if you exercise your democratic right to vote in the upcoming 2024 general election.

Source: (1) IEC results dashboard –

“The views expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.”

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