South African Election Guide: The candidates

F W de Klerk

A LATE developer, this 58-year-old is nevertheless the youngest of the top six and has not proved, as many had expected under the new rules, to be a slow starter. He shares with the favourite a never-say-die spirit. And he is a tricky competitor, able to draw on a depth of experience Nelson Mandela lacks in the hurly- burly of the electoral contest. He recently enlisted the assistance of Sir Tim Bell, the English trainer, who performed wonders with Iron Lady, in the hope of adding international sophistication to his campaign. That may prove to have been a mistake, since conditions in England differ substantially from those of the new South Africa. But he should finish a comfortable second.

Zach de Beer

WITHIN the Democratic Party he has acquired the label 'Dr Zzzzz' because of his tendency to doze off at meetings. Like Chief Buthelezi, he is 65 but there the difference ends. A gentle, docile and well- groomed competitor, he has never fought dirty, remaining the colonial gent. It has been a point of principle during his career never to deviate from the straight and narrow, never to sacrifice righteousness in pursuit of glory. He would frown in the old days on the ruthlessness of the National Party but, holding his nose, he kept alongside. That has been the Democratic Party way. Unless the young Turks in his party abandon etiquette, a bet for him is one borne of nostalgia.

Constand Viljoen

IN THE DAYS when he led the South African Defence Force, they called him 'a soldier's soldier'. He performed well in the Seventies and early Eighties in Angola. In 1985 he was rested, on a farm in the Eastern Transvaal. But when Nelson Man dela appeared on the scene in 1990, he began to brood, fearing that the glorious memory of the Afrikaner volk was under threat. But he knew the ANC were too strong for the volk. He knew they could never be beaten in a fair competition. So he emerged from retirement in May last year, abandoned his more fanatical backers and decided to take part in the race. At 60, the general is past his best and will struggle to keep up with the pace.

Clarence Makwetu

AN OUTSIDER in the field, believed to be in his mid-sixties, and could cause a surprise. The Pan- Africanist Congress (PAC) produced its best runners in the Sixties then faded from view for 30 years. He is dogged more than inspired, having never displayed the capacity to effect the turn of speed required to win at this level of competition. Deep down, as is the PAC way, he harbours a hate for the indignities heaped upon the rest of the field by the National Party down the years. The engine of resentment might enable him to draw on hitherto untapped energies. He just might shift up a gear as the finishing line comes into view. Given the long odds, he is worth a bet for a place.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi

A VOLATILE runner, brilliant one moment, unpredictable the next. It required extraordinary perseverance to persuade him to join the race. Several endured some painful kicks and there were more than a few casualties. The alliance he forged six months ago with the white far right proved a grave error. He thought it would boost his chances to run with a team of spoilers dedicated, more than anything, to tripping up the ANC favourite. But the alliance cracked. He has had to fall back on his own resources, which rest more on kinship with the Zulu king than on crude Inkatha training methods. This reluctant 65-year-old should edge his way into the top three.

Nelson Mandela

PEDIGREE and stamina make him undisputed favourite to win the electoral race. Bookmakers stopped taking bets when he was set free to compete, on 11 February 1992. He cantered out of the gate with the beaming smile of an individual who knew, at the age of 71, that his best was yet to come. He has had many hurdles to overcome in the last four years. His opponents have jostled and cheated and employed all manner of dirty tricks. But he is nothing if not determined, and tough. A canny capacity to identify his rivals' vanities has enabled him, through sheer charm, to disarm those plotting his fall. Expect this courageous 75-year-old to gallop clear to victory over the final furlong.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas