Tuesday, May 6, 2014

South Africa's National and Provincial Elections 2014

South Africa's National and Provincial Elections 2014
South Africa has become one of the world’s most revered democracies since it began. As Muslim citizens, we should feel both proud and grateful that our South African constitution and legislation affords us opportunities to practice our religion freely without discrimination, and promotes justice and equality for all - these are rights enshrined within our Constitution. Despite the numerous issues our country faces, we as the youth should always remember that we have the power, knowledge and ability to not just make a difference, but create a truly better South Africa. But with the multiple election campaigns and noise over the past few weeks, voting for a suitable party has become extremely confusing and intimidating for some.

These 6 simple steps could help you to make an informed and clear decision for tomorrow:

1. The core of every political party is their manifesto, which serves as a “published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views” of the party. This document will be the most critical source of information when making a decision. Using the websites provided on our twitter page, read through each parties manifesto, objectively and critically.

2. As you read through the policies, question the relevance of the policy for the present and future of our country and people. Focus on important factors such as economic policy/trade, education and higher learning, job creation policies and healthcare. Are the policies relevant, concrete and achievable?

3. As you examine the policies, think about the principles and morals you stand for and promote, as a Muslim and human being. Analyse the policies' philosophy, reasonability, fairness to all, morality, justice, and ethical issues based on your own universal principles. Are they similar?

4. A well-known fact in politics is that policies are easier spoken about then actually practiced. We therefore need to ensure that through analysis of party manifestos, we are able to see how successful the methods to achieve objectives are. We should examine these methods in terms of political, financial, military, and educational objectives.

5. As citizens we need to always remember that the entire purpose of government and thus political parties is to benefit mankind, sustain our environment, provide equal and adequate services to all and ensure we are prepared for the future. We thus need to question the universal benefit of each party’s philosophies in terms of: environment, biology/human beings, resources, sustainability, and economic development.

6. Lastly we need to examine their past record in terms of policy, success, and errors. The most accurate illustration of a party’s success or failure can be seen in the party leaders. Do the leaders successfully live out the party philosophies and values? Have the leaders proved themselves to the South African public in terms of policy execution and their own personal lifestyle? Are the party leaders free of corruption, nepotism, and immoral behaviour?

Here are some examples of questions you could use to interrogate and engage with parties and their policies:

• What is the projected number of students that are to be in a higher learning institute during your term and how will they be financed?
• What sectors will you focus on to encourage job creation and provide figures on the number of people to be employed by 2020?
• How will labour unrest be handled and what are the party policies to tackle strikes and violence?
• What programs will be put in place to decrease teenage pregnancy?
• What laws and reforms will be introduced to ensure accountability and transparency of government officials and the president?
• How will allegations of corruption within government and the presidency be addressed and what will the consequences be should one be found guilty?
• Will the remuneration of government officials be available to the public and can those be disputed should the public find them unfair?
• How will you ensure fair and easy distribution of anti-retrovirals?
• What actions are in place to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS infections?
• How will the SAPS be improved in order to combat extremely high levels of crime?
• Will more prisons be built to tackle the increasing number of criminals?
• Will easier processes be put in place for trial of criminal cases, especially women/children abuse?
• What support systems will be provided for victims of rape and abuse?
• How will you ensure learners and schools are provided with necessary material before the school year?
• Will the pass rate of matric be increased to improve level of education?
• What are the projected figures for higher learning financial aid?
• How can you make South Africa more food secure and decrease our level of poverty?
• How can we ensure that the rights of vulnerable groups are recognized?
• How will access to health care be improved?

All the best for making your mark on the ballot paper tomorrow. May Allah guide you to making the best decision. Let us also remember that our role as active citizens extends and continues beyond and after voting as well. Bismillah

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