The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) 2014 election campaign has taken off with the party launching its economic policy plan at the weekend.
But the jury is still out on whether the DA is a strong enough force for its policies to be taken seriously ahead of national elections.
But the timing of the launch - two years ahead of the election - shows that the party is sticking to its public relations strength. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) seems to be engrossed in a power struggle that is distracting it from election preparations.
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As the David of South African politics, the DA this weekend took the policy battle to the ANC - the Goliath. In many ways, the DA is mocking the ANC. If it is not singing ANC struggle and rally songs, it quotes freely from ANC government policy documents, such as the National Development Plan.
The use of the data and ideas from the plan produced by the National Planning Commission - an ANC structure - is a ploy to show that the ANC cannot implement its own policy.
Economist Chris Hart warns that increasing domestic savings is not "top of mind" in the DA’s policy plans, despite its ambitious target of 8% economic growth a year to create more jobs.
"If you are going to get 8% growth, you have to have savings. Without that, this is just magic wand stuff. My sense is that this is better than what’s currently happening in the ruling party and may lead to a reduction in the unemployment."
The remaining months this year are not going to be easy for the ANC. The party is consumed by a succession battle which is capable of breeding tensions that could affect its 2014 election campaign.
The past two elections were difficult for the ANC, as its share of the votes dropped. The reduction in the ANC’s majority - in the 2009 national elections and last year’s local government polls - is what spurs the DA’s policy talk. But this won’t be an easy path for the DA.
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