Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The African Christian Democratic Party says the free-market system, hard work and moral regeneration are the only cures to South Africa's problems.

That's the campaign message the party's president, the Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, has been preaching.

Meshoe also believes that dirty streets are not only about a lack of service delivery, but are linked at some level to the "moral filth" in South Africa.

"People are unhappy about the filthy streets and the communities they are living in and I draw a parallel between that and the moral regeneration in our country."

He also has no sympathy for people who say they steal because they are poor.

"To say people are stealing because they are poor is not correct. There are many poor people who are not stealing. That's not fair to the poor because there are many decent, poor people," he says.

Meshoe does not agree with political leaders who aspire to high office and have more than one wife or girlfriend.

"Polygamy is an abuse of women because you will favour one wife over the other and you cannot satisfy them all. If you are married, you need to take care of that wife and love that wife, as I am doing with my wife," says Meshoe.

The ACDP's economic policy is "free market with a social conscience".

He explained: "We only ask people who make money to have a conscience and feeling and compassion for the poor, but we don't appeal enough to their consciences. I am sure there are many good, wealthy businesspeople who would be willing to help.

"Let us encourage them to make a profit, but ask them to develop our communities too, in partnership with the government," Meshoe says.

When told that his party's economic policy is not likely to be suitable for a country with one of the highest inequality rates in the world, Meshoe quotes from the Bible: "And when you are rewarded, you should not close your eyes to the poor."

The ACDP's foreign policy reveals another contradiction. The party is a strong supporter of Israel, even though the only Christians in that country are Palestinians.

Meshoe lacks a convincing explanation for this, and only says: "It is not fair for stones and for rockets to be thrown and for Israel not to have the right to retaliate.

"Nobody can fold their arms while their children are attacked, although it is debatable whether Israel's retaliation is proportionate," he adds.