With the 2016 local government elections coming up soon, I've been thinking through my options again, and thought I'd make my basic reference list public, in case it helps others to reach a decision. This is obviously just a super-abbreviated summary of the parties contesting the Johanneburg municipality, my way of trying to keep track of who's who. A lot of these parties have shared origins, and can be hard to tell apart. In particular, if you want some African socialism, you're spoiled for choice.
I've marked parties with a * if they have a candidate standing for my ward, just for my own reference. To see who's standing for your own municipality and ward, check these lists from the IEC. They're not the nicest format, but not impossible to read, if you're patient.
Sadly, a lot of the smaller parties haven't taken advantage of online publication, making it hard to find out anything about them. And maybe that suits some of the smallest ones, with no need for them appeal to anyone outside of one or two wards. But since I still technically have the option of giving them my proportional representation vote, I'd definitely prefer to know if they're preferable to any of the larger parties, even if they weren't planning on getting my vote.
African Christian Democratic Party* (ACDP): Anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-condom, pro-business, pro-death penalty. Just doing their bit to make the world shitter.
African Independent Congress* (AIC): The ones who didn't go very far to distinguish themselves from the ANC when they split off. Originally formed on the single issue of local border placement between KZN and the Eastern Cape.
African National Congress* (ANC): The ruling party, nationally and municipally.
African People's Convention (APC): PAC splitters, and thus also Pan-Africanist socialists.
African People's Socialist Party* (APSP): APC splitters (so also PAC splitter-splitters), not to be confused with the American organisation of the same name. There's some he-said/he-said between their leaders over who's the power-hungry monster, and who truly wants to help the people.
Agang South Africa (ASA): With a history of being poorly organised, they've never made much of an impact. Pretty vague policies, considering the level of experience it started out with; I'd say more or less pro-business.
Al Jama-ah*: An oddity. Islamist party who believe they shouldn't participate in secular law-making, but want to influence it by "having a voice". Feels like cheating to me, but they're only cheating their own rules, so I don't care.
Azanian People's Organisation* (AZAPO): Another socialist party with a Black Consciousness element.
Bolsheviks Party of South Africa (BPSA): Vaguely Leninist, with pictures of Soviet guns on their facebook page.
Building a Cohesive Society (BACS): Often when a party opts for a name that's a whole sentence, with verbs and everything, instead of a couple key words, it's because they're aiming for some clever acronym. What's BACS? Apparently, well-meaning amateurs who could really use a good proof-reader. No clear ideological leaning (apart from some prominent feminism), more of a loose collection of community-building projects.
Congress of the People (COPE): Capitalist ANC splitters. Lots of history of in-fighting.
Democratic Alliance* (DA): The official opposition. Beige as fuck on the outside, pro-business on the inside.
Economic Freedom Fighters* (EFF): Anti-capitalist ANC splitters. Lots of history of out-fighting.
Freedom Front Plus* (FF+/VF+): The party for openly racist whites.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP): Zulu monarchists.
International Revelation Congress (IRC): Religious monarchists. I think their logo might have plagiarised the R100 note.
Operation Khanyisa Movement (OKM): Political branch of the Anti-Privatisation Forum.
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC): Originally ANC splitters (which makes the APSP splitters from splitters from splitters), back in the '50s, over the issue of whether the ANC should be purely Africanist, or aim for multiracialism.
Patriotic Alliance (PA): Anti-crime party led by former convicts. No idea how genuine they are.
Patriotic Association of South Africa (PASA): Party for what it terms "marginalised minorities", i.e. anyone who's neither black nor white.
People's Civic Organisation (PCO): Looks like a very localised party, with an urban service delivery agenda.
Prem Peoples Agenda (PPA): The agenda of the people named Premram Sookmungal. Can't find a damn thing about this.
Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA): AZAPO splitters. Regular unsplitting talks have yet to work out.
Truly Alliance* (TA): Truly what? Protectionist, mostly non-white-minority focus.
Ubuntu Party (bleh): The ridiculous Ancient Aliens & Free Money party, which refused to clear away their posters after the 2014 elections, so they just hung there, fading in the sun and the rain, for months. Their claim at the time was that they were too broke to pay anyone to collect all the posters. I see someone's beamed down more cash to Tellinger to waste everyone's time again this year. Can't tell if this is a direct scam, or just a crooked author's self-promotion scheme.
United Democratic Movement* (UDM): The christmas tree party. Social democrats. They originally formed in a somewhat unusual and interesting way, and have steadily achieved very little since then.
United Front of Civics (UFC): Gauteng branch of the United Front, which is the attempt at a political branch of NUMSA.