Robert McBride. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Robert McBride. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

With nearly  a month to go before the May 8 2019 polls political parties are ramping up their election campaigns.

The provincial and national elections are expected to be hotly contested, with the national ballot giving voters a choice of 48 parties to choose from.

Gauteng, which is the single-largest contributor to SA’s GDP, is expected to be the main electoral battleground as opposition parties hope to push the ANC below 50% of the provincial support.

One of the most prominent features of the run-up to the election is the submission of candidate lists from parties, for which objections closed last week.

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The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has until Monday to decide on the objections and notify political parties and candidates. The commission will announce its findings on objections on Tuesday.

The IEC received objections to 53 candidates affecting nine parties. These reportedly involved 30 ANC candidates, including deputy president David Mabuza, chair Gwede Mantashe, and ministers Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Angie Motshekga and Zweli Mkhize. Others reportedly included Mosebenzi Zwane, David Mahlobo, Malusi Gigaba and Zizi Kodwa.

Thursday is the cut-off date for appeals to the Electoral Court against the commission’s decisions regarding the objections to candidates.

Also in the week, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deal with one of the campaigning mishaps the ANC has faced, after he was stuck on a Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) train for hours during what should have been a 45-minute trip.

The Presidency said Ramaphosa will visit Prasa in Cape Town on Tuesday where he will be briefed on the agency’s efforts to improve commuter services and stimulate economic activity and industrialisation through its modernisation programme, while he is also expected to observe the testing of new train sets.

The presidency said the visit follows his “recent personal experience of commuter frustration and technical problems with rolling stock between Mabopane and Bosman stations in Pretoria”.

In parliament the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to consider all cases that are still before it, and to chart a way forward considering the limited time before the end of the fifth parliament.

Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride is expected to testify at the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday. He was initially meant to testify in February but this was postponed to allow for implicated individuals to be notified.

McBride’s testimony is expected to deal with the alleged capture of the criminal justice cluster, and has implicated more than 30 people.