Ricochet News

2019 Elections: List of the big, the small and the queer parties contesting the May 8 elections

May 2, 2019
2019 Elections: List of the big, the small and the queer parties contesting the May 8 elections

The 2019 Elections will see an assortment of contesting in elections to choose the next President, Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Legislatures

Port Elizabeth - In less than a week, on Wednesday, 8 May, millions of South Africans are expected to vote in the country’s sixth national general elections since the end of apartheid in 1994. South Africa's national and provincial elections take place every five years.

Observers see the May 8 general election as an assessment on the performance of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has run the country over the past 25 years.

The once esteemed liberation movement has lately been mired in several high-profile corruption scandals involving some of its top leadership. It has also been blamed by opposition parties for the weak economy – which has somewhat recovered after current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced Jacob Zuma.

Still, allegations of corruption did not end with the Zuma-Gupta relationship as Ramaphosa, his son and those around him in the ANC allegedly benefited from the now-infamous Bosasa.

However, the question remains - could there be an alternative in the country’s opposition parties, which also face their own challenges and allegations. Failed opposition coalitions against the ANC have also shown how the parties cannot resolve their differences - which, as an example, saw the ANC bouncing back in Nelson Mandela Bay, even after it was narrowly defeated by the DA in the 2016 Local Government Elections.

On 8 May 2019, South Africans get a chance to elect a new President, National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province.

19 more parties contesting the 2019 South African general election

A record number of 48 political parties met the legal requirements to contest the 2019 National and Provincial elections.

According to the country’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), this is 19 more parties than contested the 2014 national elections.

Gauteng has the largest number of parties contesting at 36 while the Western Cape and Limpopo are in second with 34. KwaZulu-Natal has 31 parties contesting the provincial elections, while the North West has 29 parties. Mpumalanga and the Free State have 28 parties each. The Eastern Cape has 26 while the Northern Cape has the smallest number at 21.

The parties which will contest the 2019 national elections (in alphabetical order) are:

African Change Academy – founded by former United Democratic Movement member, Wandile Tsipa, in 2017. It wants among other things to bring back the death penalty as well as enhance government’s efforts to fight corruption as well as promoting economic freedom.

African Christian Democratic Party – led by Kenneth Meshoe, it was founded in 1993. The party states that its platform is based on the biblical standard of reconciliation, justice, compassion, tolerance, peace and the sanctity of life, the individual, the family and community. With regard to the sanctity of life, they are anti-abortion and are pro-life in all other circumstances except with respect to the death penalty for certain heinous crimes.

African Congress Of Democrats - The party describes itself as being committed to leadership that is honest, has integrity, in accordance with the principles and ideals of a moderate left, and working within the established system to improve social justice.

African Content Movement - founded in December 2018, by former SABC acting Chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The party aims for the country to produce 90% of its requirements, that the economy should not be in the hands of the people, make company workers shareholders, force foreign companies to leave the country and reduce social grants.

African Covenant - formed in 2018 by Convy Baloyi. The party is proposing the return of the death penalty for murder and abortion, and wishes to overturn the legalisation of same-sex marriage in South Africa, describing marriage as an institution uniting "one man and one woman".

African Democratic Change - was launched on 1 December 2017 by former African National Congress Member of Parliament, Makhosi Khoza. The party believes in a united South Africa principled on the philosophy of UBUNTU that drives sustainable and inclusive economic change by empowering its people. “We envision a socially cohesive people that are conscious and community orientated. Ethical, moral and transparent leadership that will pave the way for a South Africa that is equal, just and surpasses its potential.”

African Independent Congress – led by Mandla Galo, was founded in Matatiele on December 12, 2005 as a protest movement against the location of the area within the boundaries of the Eastern Cape province rather than KwaZulu-Natal as a result of the 12th Amendment of the Constitution of South Africa put forward by the ANC government.

African National Congress – currently led by Cyril Ramaphosa, it was founded in 1912. The one-time liberation movement, got into power at the end of apartheid in 1994 and has been winning every election ever since. The ANC deems itself a force of national liberation in the post-apartheid era; it officially defines its agenda as the National Democratic Revolution.

African People's Convention – was formed by Themba Godi in 2007. Like the PAC, the party's ideology officially appeals to "Africanists, Pan Africanists and socialists".

African Renaissance Unity – was founded by Bryce Mthimkhulu in 2018. It was founded to lobby for the interests of traditional chiefs and their communities. The party's leaders are all traditional chiefs. At its launch, the party promised to reduce employment by 70%, double pensions and provide free tertiary education.

African Security Congress – was founded by Teboho Motloung. The was party founded to lobby for the interests of private security guards, in particular for government to employ security guards directly.

African Transformation Movement - popularly known as ATM, it was founded by Vuyolwethu Zungula in 2018. Supported by Messianic churches, if voted to power, it wants to return the death penalty and scrap low pass marks in public schools.

Afrikan Alliance Of Social Democrats – founded by Pappie Mokoena, former ANC mayor of Mangaung, in 2018. The party describes itself as "a modern Pan Afrikan Social democratic party that subscribes to the notion of a fair and just political order based on Effective Citizen Participatory Democracy", and aims to reconnect the community with the constitution and improve the quality of state services.

Agang South Africa- led by Andries Tlouamma, it was founded by anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, in 2013. The party encourages reforms towards direct governance, striving to "build a stronger democracy in which citizens will be at the centre of public life".

Al Jama-Ah - formed in 2007 by present leader, Ganief Hendriecks. It aims to ensure that South African Muslims play a positive role in the post-Apartheid South African politics. The party aims to support Muslim interests and uphold shariah law.

Alliance For Transformation For All - founded in 2018 to lobby for the interests of the taxi industry. The party is campaigning for subsidies to the minibus taxi industry, and for taxi drivers to self-regulate their industry. The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has distanced itself from the party.

Azanian People's Organisation– founded in 1978, it is currently led by Strike Thokoane. AZAPO says it remains the leading exponent of the Black Consciousness philosophy in South Africa and draws inspiration from eminent sons and daughters of this soil such as Steve Biko, Onkgopotse Tiro, Strini Moodley, Abu Asvat and Vuyelwa Mashalaba. It adds that it remains committed to the struggle for total liberation which aims for the total abolishment of any form of political oppression, economic exploitation and marginalisation and social degradation of Black people (as defined by Black Consciousness). It aims to mobilise Black people and all people of conscience for the ushering in of a state and society where all forms of oppression, exploitation and marginalisation shall be done away with, where the free development of all is a necessary condition for the free development of one.

Better Residents Association - led by Delta Mokoena, it was founded by disgruntled former ANC members. Previously known as the Bushbuckridge Residents Association, it aims to serve the residents of the Bushbuckridge region in Mpumalanga.

Black First Land First - founded in 2015 by Andile Mngxitama following his expulsion from the Economic Freedom Fighters. The party is pursuing ‘expropriation without compensation’ of white-owned land, which it declares to have been directly stolen from Africans. It has accused the EFF of selling out to the ANC, which it says is too friendly to business interests. The BLF has come out in support of former President, Jacob Zuma, and the controversial Gupta family. It has been labelled a black supremacist by its critics.

Capitalist Party Of South Africa– founded in 2019 by Kanthan Pillay. The ten core principles of the party being freedom, equality, freedom of speech, private property rights, the rule of law, the right of employment, the right to safety and security, free market and free international trade relationships, firearms for self-defence and fraternity.

Christian Political Movement- led by Brian Lonwabo Mahlati, the founder of the New Life Family Bible Church, it was founded in 2014. It wants to build a society based on Biblical, Political, Social and Economic democracy. ?

Compatriots Of South Africa- led by Cheslin Felix, it was founded in 2018. Focussing its efforts on the coloured community of South Africa, the party is supportive of land expropriation without compensation for the descendants of the "Khoi, San, Griqua and Bushmen".

Congress  Of The People - founded in 2008 by former ANC members, it is led by Mosiuoa Lekota. The Congress of the People says it was born out of the need for proper, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic governance.

Democratic Alliance – currently led by Mmusi Maimane, it was founded in 2000. The DA sums up its political philosophy as the belief in an "Open Opportunity Society for All". Former party leader, Helen Zille, has argued that this stands in direct contrast to the ruling ANC's approach to governance, which she maintains has led to a "closed, crony society for some".

Democratic Liberal Congress– founded in 2016 by Patrick Pillay, was a Minority Front councillor for fifteen years. The party opposes affirmative action and land expropriation without compensation, and is in favour of austerity measures for government and simplifying business.

Economic Emancipation Forum – founded by BJ Langa. The party wants to lead a national “moral regeneration” and has lobbied for the financial rights of pensioners in the former Bophuthatswana homeland, is supportive of Israel, calls for the nationalisation of banks, and aims to increase support for black entrepreneurs.

Economic Freedom Fighters – founded by expelled former ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema, in 2013. The EFF "draws inspiration from the broad Marxist–Leninist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society", according to one of its declarations. It criticises the African National Congress and their primary opposition, the Democratic Alliance, for their allegedly pro-business stances, which it claims have sold out the black people of South Africa to capitalism as cheap labour. It promises to tackle corruption, provide quality social housing, and provide free primary healthcare and education for all, as well as proposing to expropriate "stolen land," nationalise the mining and banking sectors, double welfare grants and the minimum wage, and end the proposed toll system for highways.

Forum 4 Service Delivery - founded in 2016 mostly by disgruntled former ANC councillors. The party's primary demand in their 2019 manifesto is the removal of all foreign nationals.

Free Democrats - founded by neurologist Dr. Johan Reid to advocate for private health care for all South Africans. It says that the National Health Insurance (NHI), proposed by Government, will attempt to eventually send us all back to state hospitals, away from quality care in the private sector.

Front Nasionaal/Front National- led by Daniel Lötter, it was founded in 2013. The party promotes Secession and Afrikaner self-determination. Front National strikes no distinction between English-speaking Whites and Afrikaners in South Africa.

Good – founded by former Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, and other disgruntled Democratic Alliance members. The party's manifesto is focusing on key issues, such as the reduction of the size of the national cabinet, the prosecution of corrupt individuals and the scrapping of the controversial e-tolls in Gauteng.

Independent Civic Organisation Of South Africa – led by Jeffrey Donson, it was founded in 2006. ICOSA says it is a party for all that associate them with the fact that colored people since 1994 still don't have a place in today's South Africa. It has a vision to provide their members and others with the basic needs of water, housing, electricity, food security and land.

Inkatha Freedom Party – founded in 1975 and still led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Once at war with the ANC in the lead up to the 1994 elections, the party favours Devolution of power to provincial governments; Introduction of a parliamentary - instead of presidential - system of government; Liberalisation of trade; Lower income taxes and more flexible labour laws as well as bringing back the death penalty.

International Revelation Congress– founded by Thinawanga Mammba in 2013. The party is socially conservative, is against same-sex marriage and in favour of the right to discipline children. It is against land expropriation without compensation, and wants to replace BEE with economic empowerment based on poverty rather than race.

Land Party – founded in 2019, led by Gcobani Ndzongana. The Land Party plans to amend the Constitution to strengthen property rights, and transfer state-owned land to the poor. They also plan to abolish all taxes on capital, such as capital gains tax, transfer duties, estate duties, as well as decrease corporate taxes, abolish exemptions on VAT and increase personal tax. They plan to abolish the minimum wage, the unemployment insurance fund, and all forms of black-economic empowerment.

Minority Front – led by Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, was founded in 1993. The party aims to represent all minorities of South Africa, its support comes mainly from South Africa's Indian community.

National Freedom Party – founded by former chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi in 2011. Its ideology is described as Social democracy Egalitarianism.

National Peoples Ambassadors– founded in 2015. It describes itself as a "radical, left, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook”, and wishes to nationalise mines and banks.

National People's Front – founded by Bheki Gumbi in 2018. The party is campaigning on a platform of fast-forwarding land expropriation, strong borders, priority for South Africans over foreign nationals, and on abolishing "Roman laws".

Pan Africanist Congress Of Azania - currently led by Narius Moloto, it was founded in 1959. The PAC followed the idea that the South African Government should be constituted by the African people owing their allegiance only to Africa, as stated by its founder Robert Sobukwe.

Patriotic Alliance – founded and led by Gayton McKenzie, a former bank robber turned motivational speaker, author and businessman, it was established in 2013. The PA's most notable policy point is the suggestion that Black Economic Empowerment be changed from a model that benefits selected black elite individuals to one that will benefit all registered voters from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

People's Revolutionary Movement– led by Nhlanhla Buthelezi, it was founded in 2016. It is known for its socially conservative views (particularly on LGBT rights).

Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners – led by Virgil Gericke, it promises to provide housing for the destitute, jobs for the unemployed, amongst other things, should it be elected to power.

Power Of Africans Unity - led by former United Democratic Movement member, Julius Nsingwane, it was founded in 2016. The party launched in Kroonstad, and joined demonstrations calling for the removal of then-president Jacob Zuma.

Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party– founded in 2019 and led by trade unionist, Irvin Jim. The roots of the SRWP lie in the split between the NUMSA union and the COSATU federation in 2013. The split was mainly caused by the growing discontention of the NUMSA leadership with the ANC, which is supported by the COSATU through the Tripartite Alliance, together with the South African Communist Party. After the split NUMSA general-secretary Irvin Jim announced the formation of a "a new united front". Together with the new SAFTU, the SRWP would be part of this new united front.

South African Maintenance And Estate Beneficiaries Association – led by Makgorometse Gift Makhaba. Their platform is made up of two main elements; child maintenance and beneficiaries of estates.

South African National Congress Of Traditional Authorities – led Chief Mantjolo Mnisi and was founded 2019. Rifts within the Mpumalanga ANC around the increasing influence of PretSA are believed to have contributed to Sancota's founding. Sancota is supportive of the interests of traditional leaders, and has come out in support of abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who was convicted of assault, arson, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice, stating that "it serves a bad precedent for a king to serve jail time". The party also believes that electricity utility Eskom should drop all of its debt to municipalities.

United Democratic Movement – led by Bantu Holomisa, it was founded in 1997. It has an anti-separatist, pro-diversity platform; and supports an individualist South Africa with a strong moral sense, in both social and economic senses.

Vryheidsfront Plus– led by Pieter Groenewald, it was founded in 1994. Its current stated policy positions include a commitment to self determination; in the form of a Boer Homeland or Volkstaat, amending affirmative action and land reform to protect the interests of Afrikaners and protecting the rights of minorities in an open democracy.

Women Forward – led by Nana Ngobese, it was founded in 2008. The party focuses on gender equity and equality, highlighting the fact that there has never been a female finance minister or auditor-general. Ngobese also called for the castration of rapists.


The following parties will contest the Eastern Cape provincial elections:

List of political parties contesting in the 2019 Eastern Cape Provincial Elections

African Change Academy

African Christian Democratic Party

African Content Movement

African Covenant

African Independent Congress

African National Congress

African People's Convention

African Transformation Movement

Al Jama-Ah

Alliance For Transformation For All

Azanian People's Organisation

Christian Political Movement

Congress  Of The People

Democratic Alliance

Economic Freedom Fighters

Forum 4 Service Delivery


Inkatha Freedom Party

International Revelation Congress

National Freedom Party

Pan Africanist Congress Of Azania

People's Revolutionary Movement

Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners

Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party

United Democratic Movement

Vryheidsfront Plus

How many people are registered to vote, and what are their main demographics?

According to the IEC, almost 27 million people have registered to vote. However, being eligible to vote merely signals intention, and not necessarily that one will cast their vote on election day.

Altogether, 703 794 new voters have been added to the voters’ roll ahead of the elections. While this is normal by South Africa’s election standards, observers say that it is worrisome because the number of new voters has not been consistent every five years.

A vast majority of new prospective voters (81%) are younger than 30. In total, 55 percent of all registered voters are women.

Racial politics will undoubtedly influence voting in this year’s elections, but the electoral commission does not collect voting statistics by race. So, the racial breakdown of past and prospective 2019 voters will never be known.

Who are the main contenders in the 2019 South African General Election?

Originally, 285 parties had registered for the elections on 8 May, but only 48 were formally accepted by the IEC.

Obsevers note that the three key main contenders in the 2019 General Eletions are the ANC; the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, which is the third largest party in the country based on number of Members of Parliament.

Ten other parties are represented in the National Assembly, but arguably pose a less challenge to the ANC. They are the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Democratic MovementAfrican Christian Democratic Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the National Freedom Party, the Congress of the People, the Pan-Africanist Congress of AzaniaAgang, the African Independent Congress and the African People’s Convention.

The rest of the parties have a mammoth task of first getting enough votes to get into the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures before they can even begin to think about trying to unsit the ANC.

Information sourced from the political parties' websites, Facebook pages, Wikipedia, the IEC and from various other publications.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.