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?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor