Churches Urge ‘Think Before You Vote’ as South African National Election Begins

Supporters cheer as they wait for opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to address her party's final election rally in Johannesburg May 3, 2014. South Africa goes to the polls on May 7 in elections which are expected to keep President Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) in power.PHOTO: REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGS
Supporters cheer as they wait for opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to address her party’s final election rally in Johannesburg May 3, 2014. South Africa goes to the polls on May 7 in elections which are expected to keep President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) in power.PHOTO: REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGS

South Africans vote Wednesday in their fifth post-apartheid national election with the ruling African National Congress reeling under criticism for failing to deliver promises and being mired in corruption, but likely to romp to victory.

The main challengers to the party of President Jacob Zuma is the Democratic Alliance, which its opponents paint as a “white party” led by Helen Zille, but it also faces strong competition from the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters, whose leader Julius Malema once headed the ANC Youth League.

A total of 29 parties are contesting the election in the year that marks the 20th anniversary since apartheid officially ended and that South African and international freedom hero Nelson Mandela became president.

In 1994 the ANC election the mainstream churches and their leaders that campaigned against the racist system of apartheid were seen as behind the policies of the ANC.

In that election Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu who is now Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said he voted for the party of his old friend Mandela.

Although many improvements were made for the majority of people after apartheid Tutu said this election he will not vote for the ANC.

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SOURCE: Ecumenical News
Peter Kenny

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