Last week the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) had its Western Cape launch for the party for the upcoming elections on May 7th and released its list of candidates for election.
The party’s premier candidate is Ferlon Christians, the ACDP Leader in the Western Cape, a man passionately concerned with the welfare of people. Ferlon was confident the ACDP would win enough votes in the Cape to have a serious influence on who would govern the province. “We will most probably be the kingmaker this year,” he said.
ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley answered questions about the ACDP’s relationship with the DA by saying, “The DA is not open to discussing any coalitions before the elections and has made it clear that they will not work with other opposition parties before elections unless they become fully integrated in the DA as the ID did. It is well known that the DA are pushing for a 2-party-state whereas the ACDP values and supports multi-party democracy which we credit with much of the relative stability and development in our country.
“In South Africa we are a diverse people and presently we have the privilege of being able to vote for a party that best represents our values and principles – the lie that “a vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote” can be seen for what it is in looking at the DA who were a 7-person-party in Parliament not so long ago and started as a 1-person-party in Parliament before that. The DA do not recognise that they need us, but the time will come where this will become a reality. All parties have their strengths and weaknesses – if you want a ‘better’ DA – VOTE ACDP!”
The ACDP has embraced the concept of a ‘Shared Future’ for all in South Africa and envisions a country that is the envy of other nations because of peaceful, sound and prosperous policies founded on morally upright but vibrant family structures serving as the building blocks of society. The manifesto is anchored around an appeal to Christian and traditional values – the core values upon which the party was founded. Like the ANC and the DA, the ACDP has targeted the quandaries of unemployment, poverty, inequality, violence and corruption plus “a sub-standard” education and health care as the cornerstone of its strategy.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe, addressing hundreds of the party’s supporters at their launch in Soweto said, “Our policies aim to address these challenges, restore dignity and investor confidence, and protect and strengthen families. Without these values, we will not see the restoration of the moral compass of our nation.”
Whilst having a broad base of support, most of the party’s branches are situated in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and on the Cape Flats. The ACDP offers an alternative for ANC and DA supporters disappointed in the track record and recent events in both parties.
Speaking on the new Collective for Democracy (CD) of which the ACDP is part, Dudley said, “a country of diversity deserves a political leadership representing such diversity. Voters can now understand that their votes do count as the separate political parties will be working collectively in their interest.
“The CD is a mechanism that will substantially increase cooperation on major issues affecting citizens. All over the world governments are increasingly being made up of a number of parties cooperating together. The same will happen in South Africa.
“What political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni described as “strange political alliances” is actually symptomatic of a larger movement for realignment in politics. Parties working together will rescue South Africa from a collapsing economy and a ruling party presiding over mammoth corruption. This is what has to happen because time has run out. What has begun in terms of this Collective will bring value in the upcoming election – but is also bound to grow and offer a way forward for South Africa in all future elections.
The party has set an annual economic growth target of 7 percent to boost employment by ensuring that the state provides an enabling environment for business to grow faster by raising global competitiveness and foreign earnings in sectors such as mining, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and tertiary education.
A professional public service and quality education and vocational training for sustained skills development are also at the heart of the ACDP’s manifesto.
Small and emerging entrepreneurs are seen as vital with the party planning to review the cumbersome regulatory environment and facilitate access to financial assistance and mentorship programmes. Interestingly, the ACDP looks to ensure that economic empowerment improves the workers’ living conditions through benefits such as workers’ share schemes rather than the current “pervading culture of enrichment that mainly benefits a small group of politically connected persons.”
The ACDP is looking for five MPLs in the Provincial legislature this year. At present Grant Haskins, the former Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, where he also served as acting Mayor, is the party’s MPL in the Western Cape.