South Africa is less than fifty days away from its national election. An election many say will be highly contested. This election takes place as the country is plunged into darkness daily with power utility Eskom battling to keep the lights on.

The power grid continues to be under pressure, with threats that Eskom may have to implement stage 5 and 6 load shedding, allowing up to 6,000 megawatts (MW) of demand to be shed.

The 2019 poll, 25 years into democracy finds South Africa faced with high unemployment rates, now at 27.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 from 26.7 percent in the previous period.

Figures by Statistics, show South Africa, youth unemployment having reached a record 55.90 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and a record low of 48.80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

This as the economy only grew by 1.4 percent on quarter in the three months to December of 2018, missing market expectations of a 1.8 percent expansion.

According to Africa Check’s “#5 Facts Water in South Africa, research, close to 90% of South African households can access piped water on estimate, most of these households don’t have water running directly into their homes.

Some 46.4% of South African households are estimated to have water piped in their homes, 26.8% have access to water on their property while 13.3% need to share a communal tap.

If we turn our attention to poverty , in 2017, the food poverty line was adjusted up to R531 per month, imagine living on that amount a month…
With all these challenges political parties continue to make more promises to the electorate.

Political parties want a piece of the 26.7 million people registered to vote, while the eligible population has increased to about 35.9 million.

This puts the registration rate at 74.5% in 2019, well below the 80.5% in 2014.

The Independent Electoral Commission has already raised concern that 9.2 million eligible voters did not register. Another thorn on their side is that the majority of those who are not registered are below 30 years of age.

Today the IEC released the list of political parties who met their legal requirements for the poll. 48 political parties will contest this year’s elections.

This is 19 more parties than those that contested the 2014 national elections

The question to ask though, is whether the increased number of parties contesting the polls gives South Africans the choice they need, will the main players stay at the top.