Politics is not exactly about manifestos. So when the DA, the EFF, Agang and the ACDP all launch their manifestos on the same weekend, it is not difficult to see that actually it is more about the pomp than the actual document, particularly for Julius Malema.
That said, manifestos are important in their own way. Not only do they outline a different version of the future, they also give us an indication of what the party in question is trying to do. Thus the DA’s and the ANC’s documents reveal quite a bit.
There is always a fundamental difference in manifestos written by parties that know they are going to win elections, and those written by parties who know they are going to lose.
If you are going to win, you have to know that there is a danger you will actually be held to your electoral promise. If you promise “radical change”, and you become the government, people are going to try to hold you to account. If you know you’ll lose, as the DA has already admitted, then you can be less timid.
So, in South Africa in 2014, the more radical the manifesto, the …