How you can become South Africa’s next president

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The Parliament buildings in Cape Town, South Africa. (Grobler du Preez/Shutterstock.com)

Perhaps you are a natural leader with a passion for helping others, giving back, and organising law and order. Perhaps you are just compassionate and want to see everyone treated fairly, and grant others access to more opportunities. Or perhaps you’re a psychopath who craves so much power, you want it oozing out of your ears.

Whatever your motivation, you can follow these three (simplified) steps to land the prestigious job as the President of South Africa.

The first thing you need: Join a Political Party

You don’t need to meet any specific requirements to join one of SA’s political parties. Simply go to the website for the party of your choice, and join. Some parties require a membership fee, and others not. When deciding which party to join, it’s best to choose a political party whose mandate best aligns with your core morals, beliefs and hopes for the future of South Africa.

Or start your own political party 
by completing a few (like 3 or so - but they’re really fancy-business-like-serious-for-reals) application forms found on the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) official website.  There are a few requirements you need to meet, forms to complete and submit, as well as a small registration fee (either R200 or R 500) dependent on your whether you want to register to contest on a Municipal (this one’s R200) or National (this is the R500 one) level.

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The second thing you need: Move up the ranks in your chosen organisation

It is up to you to become actively involved in your political party, get noticed by other members, and get them to nominate you to committees, boards, and bodies. Each party has their own committees, and each party has their own processes for candidates to win a seat on these committees. Yeah, it all depends on the party you choose.

Through hard work, and a track record of serving your chosen party as well as the people of South Africa, you should campaign to sit on the party’s municipal boards or committees. Your aim should be to secure seats on your party’s provincial committees, where your decision-making skills and knowledge of the party will (hopefully) soon see you on provincial and (eventually) national committees. Once you assert your position as a respected leader in your party, you could be nominated as a Member of Parliament (MP) and take your rightful seat in the National Assembly.

The third thing you need: Convince fellow members to vote for you as their presidential candidate

While becoming president of South Africa does not require you to hold any specific qualifications (President Zuma doesn’t have a matric certificate, for example), your peers within the party will still hold you to a certain standard. It’s, therefore, wise to conduct yourself in a manner that is representative of your party and its reputation (again, it all depends on the party you choose).

Before the general election, your party will have to nominate a presidential candidate from its members. While this person usually is the president of the party as well, this is not always the case. In other words, you could skip step 2 and 3 by convincing your party members to nominate you as their presidential candidate (Yeah, good luck with this route!).

Finally, it is then up to SA’s registered voters to choose you and your political party to govern the Republic of South Africa (Oooh, this ‘govern RSA’ thing sounds super official!). This often requires extensive national campaigning by your party to convince the majority of the voting public to choose you and your party above all others. Or in other words: democracy.

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The percentage of votes received will make-up the number of seats (and subsequently the voting power) your party occupies in the national assembly. If your party receives the majority of the votes through the national election, your party’s MPs in the national assembly will be able to vote you as the president of South Africa with their majority voting power. Or in other words: democracy.

Happy Campaigning!

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