By Viktoria Marinova
Pic: Simone Armer
The all-party election debate took place on 23 March and was chaired by Dean of Students, Dr Vivian de Klerk. The debate was organised as part of Human Rights Week and was attended by eight of the 11 parties running in this year’s election.
The debate looked at some of the issues South Africa is facing at the moment and ways in which the problems can be resolved. Each party representative was given ten questions and a minute to answer each one. Camagwini Dolweni, a first year BJourn student, said, “I felt the debate was pretty fair and democratic, but I do feel some of the speakers danced around some of the questions, which makes me think twice about their capabilities.”
The party representatives were questioned by a panel of students, each with great experience in their respective fields. Beth Vale, President of SHARC (Student HIV/Aids Resistance Campaign), questioned the representatives on health issues such as HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. “I felt that there were a few people who answered my question, but a lot went into it broadly. Overall, however, it wasn’t bad and nothing they said offended me,” said Vale. Other issues such as crime, education, business and the environment were also dealt with.
Many parties felt that it is necessary to reinstate The Scorpions in order to fight crime. The DA (Democratic Alliance) often answered the panel’s questions by quoting figures and demonstrating the percentage of people who were disadvantaged by these issues. The ID (Independent Democrats) was the party which was favoured the most, with many people often clapping and agreeing with what the MP of the ID, Lance Greyling, had to say.
The eight parties which attended the debate were: the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), African National Congress (ANC), African People’s Convention (APC), Congress of the People (COPE), Democratic Alliance (DA), Independent Democrats (ID), Pan African Congress (PAC) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM). The eight parties were greeted by a big turnout of students and a couple of local residents. David Grenville, a second year BA student, said, “It was great to see a good turnout of students and political parties to such an occasion because it is interest in our country’s politics that is necessary and key to South Africa’s development and future success.”