Black Sash Media Statements

Black Sash releases review of political party positions on key socio-economic issues - 6 April 09


For Immediate Release: Monday, 6 April 2009

The Black Sash has released a detailed review of where the top seven political parties stand on the key socio-economic issues facing South Africa in the run up to the April 2009 elections. The review forms part of the organisation’s contribution to voter education as well as its broader and ongoing initiative to monitor political parties’ performance and hold them accountable for their policy promises and service delivery commitments.

The review focuses primarily on the policy positions of seven political parties with respect to the socio-economic rights enshrined in the South African Constitution, particularly ‘Section 27’ which states that .. “Everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights”.

The Black Sash chose parties that currently hold 1% or more seats in the National Assembly – ANC, DA, IFP, UDM, ID and ACDP – and included COPE because of its potential impact on the political landscape of South Africa. All seven parties were given the opportunity to verify the content of our research and make amendments to ensure its accuracy.

The Black Sash believes that the upcoming election takes place at a time when most voters across the political landscape acknowledge that poverty and rising levels of unemployment are exhausting the resilient spirit of our nation.  In this context, the organisation decided it was important to consider whether our political parties and leaders are truly committed to realizing the socio-economic rights enshrined in our constitution.

Although the our review found that most political parties have taken up the issues of poverty and social security as a priority, the promises and proposals in their policy documents and manifestos around how to tackle the crisis remain generally thin and reactive. They also rarely indicate implementation time frames or make proposals for credible financing mechanisms or targets.

The Black Sash hopes that our review will encourage the 23-million registered voters to really push all political parties and leaders for more substantial and concrete answers to the question of how we deal with our exceptionally high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

A full copy of our policy review is available via the following link on our website:

In the interests of making our research more accessible to the electorate, we have selected five key socio-economic policy “indicators” from our review and presented our findings in five different ‘ballot paper’ tables, with the parties sequenced according to the number of seats they hold in the National Assembly.

Please click on the following link to access the tables and a summary of our review findings:

For interview requests, please contact:
Elroy Paulus
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
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072-382 8175
Nkosikhulule Nyembezi
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
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082-429 4719
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Nicklin
Black Sash Media Officer
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073-150 9525