The ANC, DA, IFP and Cope are all in the running in the upcoming elections ? but what about the minnows that have no chance of gaining significant support? Well, we've decided to spotlight the parties that no-one else will.
The African Christian Democratic Party is led by Kenneth Meshoe and claims to be a party based on Christian and family values. Founded in 1993, the ACDP aims to "protect families from the destructive effects of gambling, prostitution, pornography and abortion". According to a 2000 HSRC survey, 87 percent of the ACDP's support base is black people, with white people comprising 5 percent and coloured people 6 percent.
The ACDP also claims to be the fastest-growing political party in the country, with the group winning 1 percent of the votes at national level and 7 percent at provincial level in the 2004 elections.
The ACDP claims that "all laws should be measured against Biblical law which is objectively true and binding". The party also opposes abortion and calls for the return of corporal and capital punishment.
The Azanian People's Organisation, led by Mosibudi Mangena, is a party which draws its inspiration from Black Consciousness ideals and philosophies. This party was founded in 1978 as a result of the merger of three organisations. The group's main support base comes from black student and civic organisations.
Azapo garnered 0.25 percent of the vote in the 2004 elections, with one seat in Parliament, down from the 0.78 percent attained in the 1999 elections.
Azapo's policies place a large emphasis on establishing an African identity by encouraging solidarity with neighbouring countries and the promotion of cultures. The party also calls for the abolition of the provincial government system, as well as the opportunity to elect the State president directly.
Freedom Front Plus
Founded by Dr. Pieter Mulder, the FF Plus is a conservative organisation formed in 1994. The group's supporters are mainly white conservatives and Afrikaners.
The Freedom Front Plus claimed 0.89 percent of the national vote in the 2004 elections, a small increase from 0.8 percent in the 1999 general elections.
The Freedom Front Plus's main goal is to provide an independent Afrikaner homeland as well as the preservation of the Afrikaans language. The party is also opposed to the current implementation of BEE with the organisation's Connie Mulder saying that it should be phased out over the next five years. The group also seeks to reintroduce capital punishment for "extraordinary violent murders and rapes".
The Independent Democrats were born out of floor-crossing legislation in 2003. With Patricia De Lille as its head, the ID's supporters are mainly people from the Cape Flats area. The ID won 1.7% of the popular vote in its debut showing in 2004.
The ID manifesto targets a variety of issues, such as the introduction of a minimum income grant for all poor South Africans, a child education grant for poor learners as well as ramping up renewable energy programmes. The party also pledges to fight corruption by firing ministers whose departments receive qualified audits two years in a row.
With two out of 400 seats in the National Assembly, the Minority Front is one of the smallest parties represented. Formed by ANC ally Armichand Rajbansi, the Minority Front counts on minorities, especially Indian people, as its main support base.
The organisation won 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the 2004 national elections, up from the 0.3 percent attained in the 1999 polls.
The Minority Front's policies place emphasis on protecting the rights of the country's smaller population groups. This is another group backing the capital punishment system as a means of controlling the scourge of crime.
A major name during the struggle-era, the Pan African Congress of Azania is essentially a militant offshoot of the ANC. Black students are the party's most common supporters.
The party obtained 0.7 percent of the popular vote in the 2004 elections, slightly down from the 0.8 percent in the 1999 polls.
The PAC's election manifesto is similar to that of Azapo in that it values black nationalism and African unity highly. Land redistribution and free education are also highlighted in the manifesto. The issue of capital punishment will be left to a referendum according to the organisation.
Formed in 1976 by Lucas Mangope, the United Christian Democratic Party is yet another party that emphasises Christian values. According to a 2003 HSRC study, 85 percent of all supporters are female.
The party won 0.8 percent of the national vote in the 1999 elections, with no change in the 2004 polls. It is also the official opposition party in the North-West.
The UCDP manifesto calls for free medication for expectant mothers and children under the age of 6 as well as state medical aid for all HIV/Aids sufferers. The organisation also pledges to introduce specialised courts to deal with sexual offences against women and children. A ministry of youth affairs is also mooted in the manifesto.
The United Democratic Movement was founded in 1997 by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa. The party's goal is to unite people from all communities.
With 2.28 percent of the national vote in the 2004 elections, the UDM is South Africa's fourth largest party, despite the fact that it attained 3.42 percent in the 1999 elections.
The UDM takes crime very seriously as evident by its proposal of a "Super-Ministry of Crime-Prevention" to co-ordinate crime fighting between the Departments of Safety and Security, Justice and Constitutional Development, Correctional Services, Intelligence and Home Affairs. The party also pledges to punish criminals with community service and hard labour in addition to prison sentences. Free public education and the opportunity for South Africans to directly elect the State president are also highlighted.