The Key Candidates For The 2019 South African Election

South African general elections will be held in May 2019 as announced by the South African Independent Electoral Commission. A press conference was held by the chairperson of the commission – Glen Mashinini, where he said that the official date for the elections would be later confirmed by President Ramaphosa. This will be the sixth election since the end of the apartheid regime, and it is only a matter of time before the South Africans elect their next president. Considering the present situation, it is evident that the nation is in a big political turmoil – Blame game is all time high and harsh comments have been made from different parties. Typically, South Africa uses a parliamentary system of government where the national assembly consists of four hundred members. The president is elected after the elections by the National Assembly.

Parties on the spot

credit: Wikipedia

The 3 leading political parties in South Africa are, the African National Congress led by the current president Cyril Ramaphosa; the official opposition Democratic Alliance that is led by Mmusi Maimane; and Julius Malema’s party called the Economic Freedom Fighters. Other smaller parties include the Inkatha Freedom Party led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi; the National Freedom Party; the United Democratic Movement led by Bantu Holomisa; and the Freedom Front Plus led by Pieter Groenewald among other parties. The three main candidates are Matamale Cyril Ramaphosa, Julius Sello Malema and Mmusi Maimane. Let’s now delve into the top candidates who also come from the most popular parties in the county.

Julius Sello Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters party

credit: Julius Malema Sello Instagram

History: Julius was born in 1981 the 3rd of March in Seshego Transvaal Province currently known as Limpopo and was raised by a single mother who was also a domestic worker. He joined the African National Congress in 1990 where his work was mainly to remove party posters.


Qualifications: Malema graduated from Mohlakaneng High School, and in 2010 he completed a two-year diploma course in Youth Development from the South Africa University. Later, he obtained a BA (honours) from the same university. He enrolled in the same University in 2011 for a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and African languages and graduated in 2016 March. In 1995, he was elected as the chairman of the Youth League Branch in Sashego and later in 1997 he rose to be the chairperson of the Congress of South African Students for Limpopo province. In 2008, Julius was elected to be the president of the African National Congress.

During the 2009 general elections, Malema campaigned for MR. Zuma who went ahead and won the elections. He formed the Economic Freedom Fighters in 2013 where he won 25 seats in the National Assembly. He was sworn in as the member of parliament in May 2014 and dismissed from the assembly in June 2014. This was after he refused to withdraw a statement he made accusing the ANC government of murdering miners.


Malema’s political views: His party gets inspiration from Marxist-Leninist tradition and the Fanonian schools of thoughts. He criticizes the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance for their alleged pro-business stances. They claim that those two parties have sold out black South Africans as cheap labor to capitalism. Julius Malema and his party promise to tackle corruption, provide free primary education and healthcare and provide quality social housing. They also promise to return stolen lands and nationalize the banking and mining areas.

Matamale Cyril Ramaphosa for the African National Congress

credit: Wikipedia

History: Cyril was born in Soweto, Johannesburg on 17 November 1952 and he is the second in a family of three to Erdmuth and Samuel Ramaphosa.

Qualifications and political views: Ramaphosa attended Tshilidzi Primary school and Sekano Ntoane High school. He later enrolled to study law at the University of the North in Limpopo in 1972 where he joined the South African Student Organization and the Black Peoples Convention which led to his detention for eleven months in solitary confinement. The act was however termed as terrorism because he also organized pro-Frelimo rallies. He was later also detained in 1976 after unrest in Soweto for six months. He became a clerk after his release and continued with his studies in the University of South Africa and obtained his degree in 1981.


After his studies, he later joined the Council of Unions of South Africa as an advisor and formed the National Union of Mineworkers and was arrested for organizing a meeting that had been banned in Lebowa. Ramaphosa. It is critical to note that he was the first secretary of this union and later rose to be its first General Secretary.

Later on, Cyril subsequently became the Secretary-General of the ANC. He became a member of the parliament in 1994 and vied for presidency where he lost to Thabo Mbeki. He became the deputy president to Jacob Juma from 2014, and in December 2017 he was elected as the president of South Africa.


Ramaphosa stands for unity and the rebuilding of Mandela’s values. According to his manifesto, his political views are; addressing crime, corruption, unemployment, and inequality. He also aims to reignite the economy and digitalize South Africa.

Mmusi Aloysias Maimane of the Democratic Alliance party

credit: Wikipedia

History: Presidential candidate Mmusi was born on the 6th of June 1980 in Krugersdorp. His mother, Ethel Maimane is of the Xhosa ancestry and his father, Simon Maimane, is of Tswana ancestry. Maimane grew up in Soweto and schooled at Ruacall then attended Allen Glen High School. He is married to Natalie Maimane, and they have two children.

Qualifications: Mmusi graduated from the University of South Africa with a degree in Psychology. He further studied in the University of the Witwatersrand and earned a Master’s in Public Administration. He also has a Master’s Degree in Theology from Bangor University in Wales.


Political life and views: Mmusi applied to run for the post of DA in Johannesburg city council and for the mayor of Johannesburg in 2010. In 2011, he was selected to be the DA national spokesperson and later in 2012 he was elected as the Deputy Federal chairperson in the Federal Congress. In 2015 Maimane was elected as the federal leader of the DA. He is the leader of the opposition party of Democratic Alliance since May 2015. He is also a pastor and elder of the Liberty church.

South Africa currently has 26.1 million registered voters who are expected to turn in high numbers to decide who will lead their country in the next term. The ANC led by Ramaphosa has been in the political arena since 1994; during the end of the apartheid regime and has high hopes of winning the general elections. Critics have argued that should South Africa elect him they will have tainted name due to a number of past and present scandals. However, as it stands, all candidates have a chance of winning: All they need to do is to win the voters’ confidence.