These are the five politicians you should keep a close eye on in 2016, especially with the local government elections coming up.
Jacob Zuma: The president's term in office has been mired in controversy and scandal stemming from his decisions. The R246-million Nkandla security upgrade, R1-trillion nuclear energy programme, and the recent cabinet reshuffle - which saw the rand reach an all-time low - remain issues of contention in the country.
Mmusi Maimane: The leader of the official opposition is set to go head to head with Zuma in the run-up to the local government elections. Meanwhile, the decision to welcome MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard back into the party - after she shared a racist Facebook post - might alienate black voters.
Julius Malema: The firebrand former ANCYL leader and now EFF commander-in-chief changed the landscape of parliamentary politics with the #PayBackTheMoney move during the State Of the Nation Address. Malema's party is set to give more established political parties a run for their money in the local government elections.
Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala: The former Member of Parliament was the first woman to attain the rank of Rear Admiral in the SA Navy. After she was suspended as an EFF member, she took the reigns as UDM deputy president at the party's recent elections. Litchfield-Tshabalala is set to bring fresh energy to her new political home.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: Some ANC leaders have hinted at the possibility of a female president in the near future, signalling chances of a comeback by the AU Commission chairperson to local politics. The former minister is expected to show her hand before her AU term comes to an end and the party opens the nominations window.
This article first appeared on 702 : Top 5 politicians to watch in 2016