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Mmusi Maimane unveils Build One South Africa’s grand plan to attract voters

Mmusi Maimane unveils Build One South Africa’s grand plan to attract voters
Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane unveiled the party’s nine provincial leaders during a press briefing at Stream-IN studios in Johannesburg. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Five months after its inception, Build One South Africa has unveiled 10 key policy proposals, including nuclear energy, a basic income grant, tax holidays and free WiFi, and announced its provincial leaders, giving the party a national footprint ahead of the 2024 general elections.

As South Africa’s unemployment stats sit at 32.9%, the new kid on the block, Build One South Africa (Bosa), led by Mmusi Maimane, says there is a dire need for the immediate creation of Township Special Economic Zones (TSEZs) and the implementation of a basic income grant.

Maimane addressed members of the media in Johannesburg on Thursday where he unveiled his party’s 10-point plan ahead of the 2024 general elections. He lambasted the failures of the current administration of government, slamming a number of social ills including corruption, record levels of unemployment, the energy crisis and crises in policing, education and healthcare.

maimane bosa

From left: Build One South Africa leaders Timothy Maluleke, Mudzuli Rakhivhane, Hlumelo Biko, Vusumuzi Shongwe, Maxhoba Buwa, Ntokozo Biyela, Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster, Nozipho Mbatha, Mmusi Maimane, Roger Solomons and Stevens Mokgalapa and Bigboy Moagi at Stream-IN studios in Johannesburg. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

The TSEZs, if implemented, would bring townships closer to mainstream economic opportunities and according to Maimane would be funded from the sale of listed shares owned by the government’s Industrial Development Corporation, currently valued at more than R100-billion.

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“Government doesn’t need to own shares in big companies. Rather, township economies need to be stimulated and funded to uplift communities, create new jobs and wealth for disadvantaged citizens,” said Maimane.

Also on the cards is a basic income grant, which Maimane says should be “an unconditional cash grant” paid to young South Africans. In 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government was looking at introducing a universal basic income grant (UBIG).

There have been numerous suggestions about the amount at which a UBIG should be set. Researchers from the Institute for Economic Justice have outlined a set of options, ranging from the food poverty line of R585 per month to the initial starting level of the national minimum wage of R3,500 per month.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Yes, we can afford a Universal Basic Income Guarantee

Another priority outlined by Maimane is a temporary tax holiday for first-time employees who are graduates. He also hinted at grants for the unemployed wishing to start businesses.

Electoral Act amendment

Maimane also deliberated on the amendment of the Electoral Act which would enable citizens to directly elect their public representatives at local, provincial and national levels and to hold them accountable.

Parliament’s National Council of Provinces in November 2022 passed the Electoral Amendment Bill that makes narrow, technical changes so independents can contest national and provincial polls, with a crucial tweak — an electoral reform consultation panel — that may yet allow for possible broader reform after 2024.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Electoral reform arrested – with political kick for touch after 2024 polls

Bosa’s other priorities include:

  • Implementing a student performance grant for a C-grade or higher in the critical subject basket (science, technology, economics, accounting and maths) to incentivise young people to obtain critical skills for school-leaving success.
  • Introducing a school voucher programme that returns the power back to the learner’s parents to decide which school a child attends. This would be added to improved payment packages for excellent teachers and the curtailing of over-powerful teacher unions.
  • Voluntary national civilian service, buttressed by an expanded public works programme.
  • Localising policing to communities through the formation of small regional and municipal police forces with a strong volunteer component and the additional authority to deputise private security providers with peace-officer status.
  • Universal access to broadband, WiFi and telecommunication services in all townships, rural and peri-urban towns so that, for example, telemedicine can be implemented.
  • Introducing sustainable nuclear energy via five 4,000MW to 5,000MW nuclear power stations built over the next 10+ years. Finding international technology available from power suppliers in the US, Europe, China and Russia.

The party also welcomed into its ranks eight provincial leaders, effectively giving it a footprint in all of SA’s provinces.

The provincial leaders are:

  • Timothy Maluleke — Limpopo
  • Nozipho Mbatha — Gauteng
  • Bigboy Moagi — North West
  • Ntokozo Biyela — KwaZulu-Natal
  • Maxhoba Buwa — Eastern Cape
  • Vusumuzi Shongwe — Mpumalanga
  • Mudzuli Rakhivhane — Western Cape
  • Roger Solomons — Northern Cape

Of the eight new leaders, two are women and six are men. In terms of racial composition, seven are black African and one is coloured. All are under the age of 55, with the youngest just 28 years old, a composition which Maimane said was of importance.

“Our provincial leadership illustrates that Bosa is not a home for recycled or disgruntled politicians. We have been disciplined in not attracting or recruiting that low-hanging fruit. If we claim to be different, it cannot be business as usual. We must actually look and feel different,” said Maimane.

The leadership will embark on a national tour over the coming months, ahead of the 2024 general elections, with the intention of engaging with communities about the kind of leadership they want. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Cecilia Wedgwood says:

    Small parties are a gift to the ANC. A CONSOLIDATED OPPOSITION is ESSENTIAL. Too many egos in politics.

  • Cliff McCormick says:

    South Africa needs to be governed by a party that is young and fresh without bearing any past grudges and who actually care for the people. Maybe this is them? If so, I iwsh them the best of luck.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Those five 5GW nuclear plants: Where will we find the 5 trillion runts budget? Consider nuclear normally goes 300% of budget and take four times longer – when the Finns do it. Eskom will need thirty years and 25 trillion to build nuclear – and then it will not work to specification.

    Ah, and the old crowd pleasers. BIG for all! Free startup capital! Tax free employment for graduates! Free internet!

    I used to like Musi but this populist platform is just diluting the opposition. Zuma giggles every day when he watches the opposition play EXACTLY the game that he and Fraser planned for.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    A mixture of realistic ideas and pie in the sky. How will the basic income grant and the building of nuclear plants, free WiFi, etc. be financed?

  • Paul Zille says:

    Another ego-driven short-term distraction which will just serve to dilute an effective and focused opposition which must overcome the calamity that currently governs SA. We’ve been here many times before: COPE, GOOD, Agang, Independent Democrats etc. etc. etc. Think people.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The UK has the Institute of Fiscal Studies over and above the Budget Office in parliament that test the veracity of statements related to the fiscal spending and they question the source of funding. We have a serious problem of political parties making statements on fiscal spending without telling where the additional source of funds will come from. It is important that spending plans of political parties be tested versus revenue projections and sources. Right now we have a budget that is projected to have declining revenues because of electricity by PWC. They have not even factored the implications of the costs of liquid fuel on revenue with the closure of refineries and rising imports of refined products that is bigger than the cost of electricity. We have people with spending plans with declining revenues and shrinking tax base. It is easy for Musi Maimane to adopt populist policies of money growing from trees because he has no responsibility. The debt to GDP is growing not only because of spending but by just rising interest rates globally.

  • Rory Short says:

    “Universal access to broadband, WiFi and telecommunication services in all townships, rural and peri-urban towns so that, for example, telemedicine can be implemented.”

    As a retired IT professional I have thought for many years that any government that wants their citizens to reach their full potential must have as a priority the provision of universal access to the Internet.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    I can’t decide whether this will give the DA the kick up the backside it so desperately needs to regain and reclaim the voters it lost to Action SA in the last election, or if the sensible middle in SA politics is destined to bicker until the last light goes out (not too far away, as it happens). That the DA, Action SA, BOSA and IFP (think that’s about it?) can’t put aside their egos and roll up their sleeves for the common good is both scary and disheartening. A strong, common platform with clear ideas is critical to not just retaining the 25%-odd share of the electorate currently split amongst them, but in taking a substantial portion of the disgruntled ANC vote that sits on the centre-right of the ANC.

  • Ingrid Kemp says:

    I would like to hear Songezo Zibi’s comments on this plan.
    Personally I will vote DA to keep the Western Cape running efficiently and then study the best option or options, should we be so lucky, for the National vote.

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