Jean-Jacques Cornish

Closest run election for South Africans in 22 years

South Africans go to the polls today for the closest fought election since the onset of democracy 22 years ago.

The ruling African National Congress, is in danger of losing control of local authorities in  the administrative capital Pretoria, the commercial capital Johannesburg and the former ANC stronghold of Port Elizabeth.

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The South African Police Service and the Independent Electoral Commission are assuring South Africans they’ll be able to vote efficiently, secretly and peacefully.

This has been a deadly campaign in the ANC stronghold of KwaZulu Natal where at least 13 people, including election candidates, have been killed.

The election has seen the three main parties – the ANC, the Democratic Alliance which is the official opposition and the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters battle for the soul of previous leaders.

To the chagrin of the ANC, the DA claims that anti-apartheid icon and first democratic president Nelson Mandela would have voted for the them were he still alive.

EFF leader Julius Malema called on former president Thabo Mbeki to beg for the vote from the man whom he was party to humiliating with an early recall from the top job in 2008.

The issues in this election are the ANC’s failure to meet commitments to provide essential services and  burgeoning corruption, nepotism and cronyism within  President Jacob Zuma’s government.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.