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Inside Songezo Zibi’s plan for Rise Mzansi to break old politics – can he pull it off?

Inside Songezo Zibi’s plan for Rise Mzansi to break old politics – can he pull it off?
Leader of Rise Mzansi Songezo Zibi at a launch event for the party in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. (Photo: Leon Sadiki / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Is this sophisticated 47-year-old, beloved of elites, a streetfighter? Can he carve a space in an election likely to be dominated by populists like the EFF’s Julius Malema, the Patriotic Alliance’s Gayton McKenzie and the ANC’s Panyaza Lesufi?

It takes one call to set up an interview with Rise Mzansi head and presidential hopeful, Songezo Zibi. I arrive early at a café, and he’s there already. There are no bodyguards and no PR people. It is refreshing for a politician and a mark of difference for this party, one of several offshoots from civil society.

Rise Mzansi’s payoff line is “2024 is our 1994”, a pithy positioning statement for a young party against now-congealed liberation movement politics.  

“It’s a positive message. Another moment of big change,” says Zibi.

Zibi declined to join the Multi-Party Charter pact (MPC), a seven-party election pact led by the DA, Action SA, Inkatha and the FF Plus, which together won 31.97% in the previous local government elections.

The easy access to the leader and the enthusiasm for his plans remind me of 1994. Back then, the incoming ANC’s young leaders were accessible and filled with zeal and ideas. Now, you can’t get close to leaders in the governing party, for the phalanx of convoys, flunkies and bodyguards who have come to symbolise a performance of power often both anaemic and symbolic simultaneously.

Why do servants of the people need such social distance? I often wonder to myself.

Since he launched his campaign with the book “Manifesto” in 2022, Zibi has been on the move. The lab for Rise was the Rivonia Circle, a group of professionals who developed a thesis for a different method of politics in South Africa. It’s that test case that Zibi and his team will take to a convention this weekend as the party develops and finalises its manifesto.

Songezo Zibi (RISE Mzanzi Leader) with party members at the launch of RISE Mzansi at Constitution Hill on April 19, 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The party is described as a people-driven political alternative to the current South African political landscape.(Photo by Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi)

“We rarely mention the ANC in meetings because we want to ensure a positive message,” says Zibi.

He declined to join the MPC because he says it is conservative and pivots on opposing the ANC, whereas his view is that people want more.

“People know how bad the ANC is; they don’t have to be told.”

Grassroots organising

Rise has registered nationally and in all provinces. One thousand paid organisers run it, which eschews the membership model that still animates the ANC, DA and most other significant parties. 

Each organiser develops a network of 100 members. By next year’s election, Rise plans to have 5,000 paid organisers to create a network effect it hopes will translate into netting several electable members of parliament and provincial legislators.

“A membership model doesn’t guarantee a vote,” says Zibi, but organising does, as President Barack Obama showed when he changed how elections are run in the US using a similar method.

Gauteng organisers have already “touched” 12,000 voters, says Zibi.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Rise Mzansi launches, but mixed views on the mushrooming of political parties ahead of 2024 polls

He is working with a global team led by the former DA strategist Jonathan Moakes because elections are both politics and science – it’s been found that a vote is likely once a party has “touched” a voter 12 times.

“It’s about constant presence. They just want to see you here, to see you trying.”

Moakes was on the team when Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema won the 2021 election – recognised, too, as a shift from old to new democratic outcomes.

Rise’s method breaks how party politics is organised around elections. The old way is to hold events and rallies during elections and build a brand using traditional means like advertising.

The new (but old) way is to organise where people are and around what their most heartfelt concerns are. Rise does door-to-doors, cocktail parties, events and dinners. You are also likely to find it at, for example, civics in Plett, Eastern Cape farmers’ market associations, hyper-local business associations, hostel dwellers’ associations and “Gogo Olympics” (exercise classes for older people).

This is how the UDF organised grassroots resistance to apartheid, by tapping into the system’s manifest and different impacts in different communities. The party’s focus will be Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape (where Zibi is from), the Western Cape, parts of the Free State and the Northern Cape.

Whereas old politics is often one set of messages in a campaign set nationally but fought locally, Zibi’s team is changing things up.

“We’re building social capital and organising. Ours is a listening politics. We encourage people to say what’s not working and how it should work. And then we ask people, ‘If you can change five things, what would they be?’

“For most people, it’s food. How much food they have access to, food for their families and the cost. Tjo! It’s about every family having food,” says Zibi, to emphasise the point. He says stunting is visible in their work in the poorest provinces. Food, he explains, is also a proxy issue for access to land.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The 2024 elections will be a watershed moment for all of us to reclaim SA from unaccountable and corrupt politicians

After listening for over a year, Rise’s manifesto convention is organised into themes of family, community, governance, nation-building, climate change and the economy. “Family” is an unusual policy plank in a political landscape more used to jobs as the fulcrum.

But Zibi says that jobs emerged as a determinant of how to ensure your family’s survival and wellbeing. Family issues arose repeatedly, mainly because the single woman-headed household in South Africa is the most common family form.

“Single moms say, ‘There’s nobody to look after my kids’.”

Community is often about community safety. People were not short of ideas for how to make their communities safer: 

“If we could have a taxi just for women; we feel unsafe on the bus,” says Zibi, sharing some ideas from supporters and explaining how the party will tackle safety and belonging.

Mental health and drug abuse policies are also high on Rise’s agenda. If he were to put it in a nutshell? “I want a better life for my family. It is about survival and aspiration.” In 1994, the ANC swept to victory on the slogan, “A Better Life for All”.

“There’s a profound disappointment with government and (also the view that) we want to do it ourselves. But we have to persuade people they can’t turn from the state. We explain that grants are your money; they can’t take it away.” (An ANC sub-narrative is that any other party will stop the social grants now paid to every second adult South African.)

A streetfighter?

At an event for the well-heeled, Zibi was surrounded after he spoke. Many were older ANC blue bloods who saw in him some of the zeal they once had. One person said he would be voting for Zibi, but asked a question on many lips: 

Is this sophisticated 47-year-old, beloved of elites, a streetfighter? Can he carve a space in an election likely to be dominated by populists like the EFF’s Julius Malema, the Patriotic Alliance’s Gayton McKenzie and the ANC’s Panyaza Lesufi?

“I’m super-comfortable in villages,” says Zibi, who hails from Mqanduli in the former Transkei, where he read for a B.Comm at the local university before taking on various roles in the C-Suites in mining and banking. He honed his public reputation as editor-in-chief of Business Day.

Rise works with traditional leaders’ associations, hostel-dwellers and shack-dweller organisations. A look at its images will show that while Rise is not mass-based in the way that the ANC, DA and EFF are, it is not a tiny bourgeois movement.

The other criticism levelled at Zibi is that he is “WMC” – white monopoly capital – in the lazy rhetoric of critics fearful of a shakeup in black politics.

Zibi says Rise’s economic frame is “social democratic”, supporting a mixed economic model.

“It centres on food,” he says again, highlighting the trade-offs necessary in a system of high social solidarity (higher taxes, for one). Capital, he says, must also take a sharp look at its practices.

“You release government from its obligations when the amount of money put into dividends is higher than in investment,” he says.

Rise won’t win the 2024 election, but it can take many MPs into Parliament if its strategists are right. 

It will contest the 2026 local government elections and target a majority in 2029.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC is aiming for a clear majority – the polls show this is unlikely now, but not impossible at the election. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jennifer Snyman says:

    Very refreshing. Someone who doesn’t just focus on who is doing what wrong within the political system but understands that the old way of doing things is itself broken.

  • Denise Smit says:

    It doesnt seem he had much to say during your interview except he will not join the MPC. He says he does not need to call out the faults of the ANC/EFF but he has to do research to find out what it is that people need, food, safety (only female taxis? really). And he asks people to continue its dependence on the government for grants and he suggests to them it seems that the DA will stop it. To me it sounds funny, as though he is suggesting to people not to vote for DA but keep on depending on ANC/EFF. He sounds like an undercover economic anti white freedom fighter to me. If he is serious about change he will be willing to compromise and join the opposition, but he rather opposes the opposition and does it on his own. Nothing innocent about this. Denise Smit

    • Steve Davidson says:

      Well said Denise.

    • Jacki McInnes says:

      I think you need to check out Zibi’s strategies and message over the past 18mnths or so. His ideas are really quite simple, yet articulated in a way that we don’t often hear from politicians in SA. He is a rare example of a politcian who can combine sophisticated strategies with simple, yet effective strategies. I, for one, am excited and believe he may prove to be the most effective choice for South Africans in next year’s elections.

      • Denise Smit says:

        You are naive and not practical if you think one person, one party can be an opposition to the ANC/EFF. There are lots of people with good ideas and intentions, but this will not help to unify the opposition. All these little parties fall into the trap of “divide and rule” politics that will favout the ANC/EFF. Denise Smit

        • D'Esprit Dan says:

          Helen Suzman was the sole Liberal MP in Parliament for 13 years. She definitely did make a difference over time. But the key point is that you’re spectacularly missing pretty much every point that Zibi makes: his main focus is on sectors of our society that the DA has never made any inroads in. How is it ‘divide and rule’ of the opposition, if he erodes the ANC and EFF strongholds in the rural, informal and township communities that the DA has no foothold in? It should be celebrated that an opposition party is going for the jugular of ANC and EFF support, not derided.

          • Glyn Morgan says:

            If Rise Mzansi is going to join the MPC I would give them much more credibility. As it is they are just a bunch of empty promises.

            Female only taxis? Great idea, twice the price.

      • Ismail Lagardien says:

        Well said, Jacki.

        • Denise Smit says:

          Examples: “food and proxy issues to land”, “an ANC narrative is any other party (DA) will stop the social grants” , ” ..economic frame….social democratic….mixed economic model” , “tighter taxes”, “Capital must take hard look at its practices” I interpret this as land expropriationg, anti capitalist , increase in taxes, and not pro jobgrowth policies.

          • D'Esprit Dan says:

            You’ve simply plucked phrases out of the article without context in ‘support’ of your narrative. It’s quite sad that a new leader who is taking a hard look at what’s currently wrong and trying to frame solutions that may take us out of the binary, zero-sum death dance of our current malaise attracts such opprobrium. Actually, the more I read the comments in this piece, the more I’m persuaded that the DA is yesterday’s news and Rise can provide a less dogmatic, more pragmatic solution to the problems facing all South Africans. Steenhuisen, Zille, you’d on notice!

        • Denise Smit says:

          His objective is only to have enough voters by 2029. Is this what DM readers have as their objective. What will be left of us by then? We need change now, not then. Make up your own minds about the divide and rule project yourself. Like minded parties need to stand together and he is not willing to take that step. Why if he really wants change? Denise Smit

        • Denise Smit says:

          I answer your comments on how I come to my anti Rize feeling in the following paragraphs

      • Denise Smit says:

        *He states the MPC(DA) are conservative and pivots on opposing the ANC. Are DM readers conservative? It was born out of the Prog party and is liberal not conservative and definitely the old national party .
        * Rise get members “door to door, cocktail parties, events and dinners” Shoe expensive and sustainable_ sounds like EFF big stadium bash and dinners to me.*
        Lots of his statements are vague and open to interpretation and the interviewee does not seem to ask hard questions. Deliberate .

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      I agree with you. Sounds like an ANC subversive to me. “Lets nail the good opposition parties and let the ANC survive.”

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Did you actually read the article, Denise? Or just decide that since he’s in opposition to the DA that he must be another ANC flunky? He articulates very clearly that the ANC has failed and that it is time for change and for new ways of addressing core issues in South Africa. Zibi has used the thinktank that he belonged to (belongs to?), to develop a different narrative of what is important to people and how to deliver that. I’ve read the article a couple of times and cannot anywhere see how he’s encouraging people to vote ANC/EFF instead of DA? Or that he’s somehow an ‘undercover anti-white freedom fighter’ – he is clear that they don’t mention the ANC because it’s so widely accepted they’re a failure, and he wants a positive message.

      It’s also just a 1,200 word article (if you strip out Ferial’s contextual musings early on), how much policy detail can you get? The entire tone of the piece is to introduce Zibi to DM readers and give a flavour of what he’s about. Or are you taking the mickey out of the RET mob and I’ve spectacularly missed your humour?

    • lerouxj537 says:

      Spot on Denise. He is a planted ANC/EFF shill.

    • Ntobeko Kent Mkalipi says:

      Reading without perceived racial or political party bias will indicate that you did not read properly or are unable to comprehend the points presented by Zibi. No where, for instance was there any mention of the DA stopping grants as as no where does he encourage grant recipients to continue voting for the ANC but rather to the contrary.

      • D'Esprit Dan says:

        Absolutely spot on, Ntobeko! I actually have to keep re-reading the article, because the comments and assertions made by Denise and those supporting her don’t seem to come from the article itself! Perhaps it’s a knee-jerk reaction to someone who appears to be a threat to the 20% ceiling DA? There was someone who commented on a piece earlier this week or last week, who lamented that the tone and comments by the obviously DA supporters on DM make it very difficult for her/him to consider supporting the DA – and this is the nub of why the DA can’t make inroads into large swathes of the black community.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      Honestly, it seems more like your reading of the article was coloured by your own preconceptions, Denise, than an honest and open comprehension of the text presented.

      Dare I say that your comments on DM articles have a slight knee jerk quality to them generally, but that this one verges on conspiracy theory territory?

      No offense meant, though. You are certainly entitled to express your opinion, of course. As a formerly fiercely vocal supporter of the DA with some current regrets about that, I’ll just say: beware of the echo chamber.

    • William Kelly says:

      You really didn’t read the article did you? Have another go at it.

  • paul Volker says:

    I wish Zibi and his movement all the best, a real breath of fresh air. But I suspect they’ll be another 0.5% party. SA voters don’t really want change for some reason.

  • Its a great pity that he didn’t join the M P C! It will be yet another party in the minority benches. May be wants to be a kingmaker?!?!?!?

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      If they had joined the MPC I would trust them. Now? No.

      • Steve Davidson says:

        Well said Glyn. Mainly because I thought the same!

        • D'Esprit Dan says:

          I read it completely differently: Zibi doesn’t want Rise to be part of the currently defined political landscape of Us versus Them, or ANC/EFF/Lunatic Fringe versus the MPC – all these parties come with baggage and reputations that voters are well aware of. They all have their base constituencies that will support them no matter what (or simply reuse to vote) and all appear to have a ceiling of support that won’t shift the status quo: Zibi is targeting voters and potential voters who are tired of this status quo. By opting to stay out the MPC, he’s signalling a different approach and one that is aimed primarily at the very large constituency that despises the corrupt, incompetent ANC, sees VBS attached to it and the EFF, doesn’t trust the DA and isn’t a parochial ethnic or geographic party like the PA or the localised parties popping up all over the platteland. It is perhaps the exact party that SA needs right now to galvanise large numbers of voters to get rid of the ANC and its hapless, hopeless, allies. A fresh start, something different, that will appeal to those who see nothing in the parties that have made no difference to their lives for the last 30 years.

  • Sean Thomson says:

    Im sorry but I stopped reading after….“People know how bad the ANC is; they don’t have to be told.” – ok no to be honest I came back to read the rest…

    If thats the case then why do they keep voting them back into power?!?

    The MPC is literally the coming together of people who want more…..this next election shouldnt be a selfish one….we all need to come together to get rid of this ANC once and for all so that we as a country can finally move on…..hell Ill vote for him the next round if he would only come to the table, that to me would mean hes serious on giving people what they need.

    Its literally a numbers game…..going solo isnt going to solve anything.

    100% if the MPC manage to get into power next year by all means go it alone the next election but at this stage this country wont survive another round with the ANC in power.

  • Michele Rivarola says:

    A fragmented opposition plays into the hands of the ruling party and no one else. As the same parties vie for a limited number of voters and suddenly rather than one party having 60% and another 40% the 60% is broken down into two 30%s and the 40% becomes the holder of the majority. Simple maths 101 not rocket science. In a country where % representation counts for almost zilch fragmenting the opposition is the best tactic that the ruling party can use to retain power in the abscnce fo any credibility.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      If the same parties are vying for a limited number of votes, as you say, what’s the point of any of them contesting the elections? The whole point that Zibi is trying to get across is that he’s trying to reach voters who are both disaffected with the ANCs corrupt uselessness, and are also NOT comfortable with the current status quo parties – the ones that seem to be fighting for the limited pot you refer to.

      Zibi articulates very clearly that they are reaching into all strata of SA society, from the glitzy book-launch brigade beloved of the useless ANC elders, through to rural villages, townships, hostel dwellers, shack dwellers associations and others: in other words (outside of the book launch mob) the exact voter base that the DA has made almost no headway in reaching at all, in almost 30 years of democracy in South Africa.

      How is tapping into a voter base that the DA is hopeless at capturing undermining them in any way at all? Zibi and his party are aiming squarely at the base that supports the ANC and EFF. If current DA voters are swayed by his arguments, it’s the DA’s fault, not his, that they don’t resonate with this group.

      • I just love it when someone stands up and translates what another is saying even though we speak the same language, and hear the same speech. My goodness it must be great to step inside another’s mind and tell the dumb folks in the audience exactly how it is, to the consternation of the speaker as well. Who knew some soothsayers were so brilliant. 😉

      • Steve Davidson says:

        Read my lips: THEN JOIN THE MPC. Easy.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      That is the incorrect perspective to take, but it is certainly the one the DA is trying to push.

      The truth is that there are no first-past-the post seats in Parliament. It’s all proportional. There is zero benefit to the ANC, in hard numbers, when an opposition voter votes for a smaller party. And the elephant in the room is that the largest group of “voters” in South Africa are those who do not cast a vote.

      So whoever can ACTUALLY inspire those who disapprove of the current ruling party to register to vote AND show up on Election Day, I will celebrate, whether they are a new and small party, an independent, or the largest opposition party. One flavour does not fit all, and we (collectively) need as many showing up as we can possibly get.

      There is also nothing stopping a “fragmented” opposition to the ANC from still voting as a bloc on all the issues they agree on, including forming a government. The so-called coalition chaos we’ve seen thusfar can’t be blamed on the numbers, but the blame lies squarely on unprincipled politicians who ignore the wishes of those who voted for them, combined with a helping of heavy-handedness from coalition leaders who do not comprehend that successful coalition politics, just like diplomacy, is the art of compromise.

      The voters have spoken, as they will again, and it is up to the representatives thus elected to make the most of the mandate they have received. No amount of castigation will get voters to vote for one they dislike, anyway.

      • Denise Smit says:

        What do you think Rize is going to do with his vote in Parlament – there is no clear commitment. Why? Denise Smit

        • Greeff Kotzé says:

          I see no reason to assume bad faith. I believe that they are serious and committed, and will use their votes in Parliament in line with their party policies — which is available in a fair amount of detail on their website, and still being refined further in consultation with communities and civil society.

          Here is a snippet that goes to addressing your specific concern:
          “ 4. Fighting Corruption
          The most important development in the fight against corruption will be the removal from power of the African National Congress. Over the decades and by its own admission, internal and government processes have been either influenced by or totally taken over by corrupt elements, for a corrupt purpose.
          Many people have been appointed to critical positions almost exclusively for improper purposes, often without the required skills or experience. Even when they mean well, these people are responsible for profound service delivery failures that affect people’s lives, livelihoods and rights.”

          Their policies, on the whole, have a strong reform and accountability focus, with a data-driven approach. I do not for a moment believe that they seek to maintain the status quo.

      • D'Esprit Dan says:

        My yes and yes were your posts, Greeff, not the ones you were replying to!

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    It’s Good news to have a person of principle leading a collective of thoroughly researched principles in response to a nation bemoaning/ lamenting the lack of principled government/ governance. I think Zibi’s Arise could surprise us all and what comes after the election will be the rejigging of alliances anyway (MPC or otherwise). 2024 is a new 94 but it’s up to the electorate to decide how new, how principled, how imaginative, how uncorrupt, how healthy we make our future. Here’s praying we won’t settle for the same old same old, OLD!

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Whether naively or intentionally, in effect a stakeholder for the ANC.
    There is nothing sophisticated about this campaign appearance.

  • Charles du Sautoy says:

    I have long taken issue with the DA’s politics which, it seems to me, seems to rest on two pillars. One, bashing the ANC (which really doesn’t take much to do) and second, we can govern well. But what is troublingly absent from the DA rhetoric is anything about how they might actually deal with the fundamental issues we face. Poverty, healthcare, employment, education, and safety. They are quick to say, “That won’t work” but I never seem to hear “This is what we must do”. We know what Malema and the EFF want to do, give them credit for that even if it would be path to disaster. And now, for the first time, Zibi and Rise seem to be doing what the DA seem incapable of: offering a path forward based on a credible political philosophy. I think they deserve attention in the run-up to 2024.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Agreed! I always feel the DA spends too much time defending its turf and not enough looking to expand it. It’s base (which has included me for decades in the various incarnations of the party) doesn’t represent the reality of South Africa as a whole, and the DA doesn’t seem to have credible leaders or plausible, well articulated policies that speak to groups outside of this base.

      • Greeff Kotzé says:

        That may be because the top leadership tends to ostracize and sideline any junior leader who dares to build a support base outside of the DA’s traditional base. It’s an eternal catch-22 for them: they want to grow the party and appeal to a wider array of voters, but they fear losing the tight control that they currently hold on the party. They secretly think that it will all crumble to dust without them, instead of trusting that their contribution has been enough, and that the direction of the party, as a collective, is sound.

        They want more voters, but not more party members, especially not those who may support any leader other than the approved ones in internal elections. And in the end they decided that, since they can’t have it both ways, they’d rather not grow the party, then. Not at the cost of seeing it change or evolve, not even in the slightest.

    • Denise Smit says:

      If we have friends like you, who needs enemies. Divide and rule. Charles are you a SAcan living in SA permanently? Then you will know where the government and governance is the best. One can make hundreds of promises but the proof is in the pudding. A political philosophy is akademic talk not results. Denise Smit

  • Kenneth Arundel says:

    We have all got so used to pointing out the ANC failures (for good reason) that it has almost become an addiction. Its definitely time to change our way of looking at things.
    Although politics is adversarial by nature it does not need to be the nasty s…t we have now.

  • Bob Marsden says:

    The party isn’t member-funded. Where does the party money come from?

    • Ryckard Blake says:

      Exactly, and why did Ferial not demand an answer to that question?
      One thousand “Paid Organisers” (soon to rise to 5000 !!!) cannot come cheap, and I’m wondering if the funding comes from that Dreckball Survé, or, more probably, that not-so-secret front for the ANC, his erstwhile employer at Arena-BD, Mzee Malunga.
      Something decidedly fishy about an ex-journo / editor of BD, throwing cocktail parties to figure out that what worries the electorate is FOOD.
      5000 organizers !!! Why do I smell a large Rat?

      • David Franklin says:

        Something more than fishy about a DA whose roots stretch back to 1959, but still have yet to realise that ordinary people want to feed their families properly.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      Membership fees and donations from ordinary members form a tiny fraction of most parties’ funding, I wager. It would be interesting to know more about how ALL of them are funded.

      In the case of Rise, my wager would be on the funding coming mostly from a network of practically-minded business executives and large shareholders in local companies, who don’t shun the ANC publicly, but also realise the need to build an alternative to the ANC. The kind of people currently lending the government a hand to try and fix Eskom, fix Transnet, and make a dent in general corruption, because practicality trumps grandstanding. The kind of people who see that the National Development Plan is fine, thoughtful and thorough policy, and would like to see it implemented, but also recognise that it is largely dead in the water due to the ANC’s own internal politics.

      But that’s just my guess.

  • Palesa Tshukudu says:

    It’s refreshing to read about a party that’s not against any other party. They just want to make a difference. I’m an ordinary but active citizen who just wants the country to work.

  • André van Niekerk says:

    I am really surprised and disappointed at all the negative distrust in the comments. It is probably understandable given how little there is to trust in the current system. I for one love that someone is willing to just talk common sense, and move away from the old way, which by the way has delivered nothing.

    30 Years of ANC rule and everything is destroyed. Give them 50% more time, and they will have ruled as long as the Apartheid government. And after 30 years you want them to continue? Oh wait, there’s an alternative – let’s continue opposing them like we did for that past 30 years. That certainly brought good results.

    I’m sorry Denise, you need to have some faith and support positive change; not continue living with suspicion and fear.

    • Ritchie Morris says:

      I agree with you Andre. Such negativity will get us nowhere – in fact it will take us backwards because we will end up with the same old, same old. It seems to me that most people who are negative have not read the article properly. Some new thinking and younger blood in our politics – and some positive thinking is sorely needed. It is about family, community and food – these things filter through to everything else – jobs, economy, safety, education etc.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Well said, André – way too many tinfoil hats in the trenches here!

  • Cornay Bester says:

    If we don’t discuss the elephant in the room the elephant wil dissappear?

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Sadly this movement will be left in the corner .
    These small parties are not geared up to govern or have the mechanics , clueless.
    Just vote DA !!
    End this nonsensical merry-go round

  • William Kelly says:

    Wow. I think Denise has left the building.
    If you read about and then engage with the party – do tell me how many actual politicians you have spoken to face to face with m’aam, the ones you actually vote for? – then I think you will revisit your knee jerk reactions to Rise. I have spoken to several of them, on the phone and face to face. Which is more than I can say for the DA – who until they boot Zille, will NEVER attract the votes of the black masses (the DA went BACKWARDS against this ANC – how is that even possible?). They lost me when they lost the plot – they’re out of touch and it’s ironic that their policies and good governance ala Western Cape have NOT delivered at the polls, and yet they cannot work out why!
    Rise is on point. They get that the vast majority of Saffers want what everyone around the world wants: peace, freedom to live a life unchained by the state, happiness and a future for their families. When all you have is a grant, guess what happens? You get what we’ve got. A morass of corruption and evil posing as a government that will stop at nothing, nothing, to keep it’s corrupted self going. And that is what Rise sees. There is nothing in the MPC for them or for anyone frankly – that collection will not grow their share collectively, other than by people voting AGAINST the ANC as opposed to voting FOR the MPC. People however, will vote FOR Rise and that’s the key difference.

    • Denise Smit says:

      You seem to be one of the people entertained by this movement during a dinner . He has the same tactic as the ANC dishing out T-shirts or the EFF filling a stadium. You regard yourself as sophisticated and he had drawn you like a moth to a light. Denise Smit

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Excellent post, William! I too am over Helen Zille and her lack of any ability to read a room, thinking she can bulldoze her way through everything. Sounds like she’d actually have a nice home in another one across the floor!

      Reading the comments on here, I think Zibi has touched a real nerve with those who perhaps realise that the muted advances the DA has made in the black middle class (and me, increasingly, judging by the comments on here), could come crashing down if they decide to give Rise a chance.

      If the DA has any political nous at all, they would be tacitly supporting Rise to be the iceberg that sinks the ANC in constituencies they’re hopeless in.

      • Denise Smit says:

        I wander how your words “bulldoze her way through everything” is not bashing? Who said anything about the black middleclass but you? You are making this out as something racist which it is not – where do you get that from? The ANC/EFF, Lindiwe Zulu, Ramaphoza making everything somebody in a party other than theirs a racist thing. you are learning quickly I must say. Denise Smit

        • D'Esprit Dan says:

          The black middle class is a constituency, just as any other identifiable group is. There is nothing racist in highlighting it – I will guarantee you, that in every democracy that has multiple identifiable groups, whether racial, gender, religious, income level, sexual orientation or any other, politicians are crunching the numbers to gauge their impact at the ballot box and how best to utilise that.

          And if you think that saying Zille bulldozes her way through everything is ‘bashing’ her, you have a thinner skin than Dali ‘I’m a victim’ Mpofu!

    • Denise Smit says:

      And the Helen Zille bashing continues, the same person who while an anti-apartheid journalist exposed the death of Steve Biko in arrest while working for Black Sash. You and your ilk are in the company of Julius Malema who have called her a white old woman, with botox and other very unkind demeaning things, You play into the hands of the ANC/EFF. you are woke. Denise Smit

      • D'Esprit Dan says:

        Nobody on this thread has called Zille any of the things you’ve now aired – you really need to stop putting words in other people’s mouths! I had great respect for Zille in years gone by, but she’s become a liability, shooting from the lip, completely oblivious to the damage her comments have on POTENTIAL supporters outside of her own little echo chamber. She was a great activist, she is no more.

      • David Franklin says:

        This defence of Helen Zille is very interesting indeed. “Do not question or criticise Comrade Helen, she has struggle credentials.”
        Sounds exactly like what Bheki Cele says when people criticise his performance as minister of police.

  • Pieter van Rooyen says:

    If Zibi can muster 5000 paid member before 2024 and each muster 100 member in a community and each of the 100 members convince just 25 of the youths that has given up hope and don’t register to go and register to vote for Rize Mezansi then they will have a whopping 12 500 000 or 48% of the voters roll. The priceple to apply is very easy, ask each of the 25 young people to list 5 of the most crucual things they need in their community and how to achieve it and hand it to their member. Each 100 members then give it to one of 5000 paid members and this is fed into a meta-data base and you 12 500 000 by-ins to the party. The database then predicts your policy and procedures. But I can bet you two of the most basic things will be clean water and a piece of land, but not just any piece of land (at least 1000sqm), it must be serviced by roads, water articulation and storm water drains i.e. dry roads and dry land. The owner of the land must be granted a 5-10year period to build a permanent structure there, meanwhile they can erect an acceptable temporary building with subsidise materials. The community must form building groups that supply the labour subsidised by the Provicial government.

  • The great American way. Multilevel marketing in a political framework. Hmmm a clever idea, but the followers have to see results and quickly otherwise they drop out. The motivators have to work their backsides off for no physical reward. Hoping that there will be X amount of paid workers in X amount of time is applaudable, however funders are just as eager to see what their money is doing, results on a political level is like global warming, you never know what’s coming next. Change is absolutely critical at this juncture and I wish this man all the luck in the world, however if promises were horses, beggars would rise.
    Sometimes achievement is necessary before a takeoff can happen, in this case it’s all promises with nothing behind. Sorry experience dictates a fire but no wind. The enthusiasm is there so all the best.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Interesting reading the article as well as the comments, which appears to be as wide as some kicks of a Springbok flyhalf to the rugby posts. Personally, view Mr. Zibe as a great breath of fresh air. He is a very bright man (otherwise how come he was the editor-in-chief of Business Day and other very senior executive positions), and certainly show some establish politicians what they really are. Whether he can gather enough votes is however unlikely. Nevertheless, will follow his career in the next 9 months with extreme interest.

    • Denise Smit says:

      Exactly, unfortunately good intentions and not talking anti-ANC/EFF words, are not going to get us to remove them and Zibi is not willing to show his cards. Denise Smit

      • Coen Gous says:

        Denise, understand your arguments, but from what I gave seen from those that show there hands certainly do not inspire me to trust. Whether their open cards are indeed open and trustworthy is a gamble all voters will have to take. However, based on political tendencies, and conspiracies over the last 4 years since the previous election, to me simply appears as the “same old, same old, promises, promises”

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    There are a lot f diverse viewpoints here , which illustrate that people often see one viewpoint . Too much theorizing and too little getting down to practical politics. I say this as a person who had much interaction with politicians as head of a state department during the periods of both ANC and NP governments. I say this also based on my experience of personally seeing opposing politicians castigating each other in the house, but getting down to a friendly cup of tea between them at breaks and lunch.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Zibi seems like he’s sincere and I hope Rise will amount to something but the historical precedent doesn’t suggest they will so I can’t confidently hold my breath.

    That the outperformance of the WC in virtually every metric indicative of better quality governance relative to all other provinces doesn’t translate into votes says as much about what voters actually want as it does about the DA’s messaging.

    The ANC makes the same fantastical promises which they perennially fail to deliver on. It seems that unbelievable promises made by spectacularly wealthy people who can sing and dance are what the South African electorate really want.

    I really hope I’m completely wrong.

  • Ingrid Kemp says:

    Have any of the ‘naysayers’ viewed the Rise Mzansi website at all ? I am so encouraged by the effort they are making in the ANC strongholds of the Rural Eastern Cape and Transkei. I wonder how many other parties are doing the same.

    • Coen Gous says:

      One person talking sense here. Senior people at Rise Mzansi well respresented by our race breakdown, but also bright people. Can fully understand why they did not want to become part of this moonpact, which will become a red herring in time, regardless of what happens at the 2024 elections.

  • Denise Smit says:

    So the first proposal has been made – to take the land question to a referendum. On the DM article about the three days the other topic proposed was to use the PIC money because it is in “white-owned companies”. The PIC as you know is the money of the pensioners of the state. It is private money and the suggestion that it is the states money is absurd, everyone of us paid through our workings years into this fund and this is for our pensions ,not to fund a politicians dreams as he wishes. Land expropriation is on the table and also use of PIC money -Mine and every state pensioners money. Do you think these policies will create an environment where people will invest. This is ANC/EFF policy for sure. Denise Smit

    • Coen Gous says:

      This Denise Smit likes to dominate a conversation. Calm down lady. Your opinion hardly matters, just as mine doesn’t, or anyone else on a public news article. But from my point of view, Mr. Zibe and Rise Mzansi certainly attracts a lot of comments on DM, with 80 plus, something I seldom see on possibly the most credible news platform in SA, together with brilliant journalists

  • Theresa Avenant says:

    I like Dee Bee’s comments. It’s always good to find somebody on the same page. I enjoyed reading Ferial’s article. I attended a webinar on the launch of Zibi’s book “Manifesto” some while back and I must say I found him to be most enlightening. His thinking rather lines up with modern global thinking. I had a chat with some Masters students a few years back who were working on alternative theories to government and they very much thought along the same lines. It sounds very far fetched but somebody has to make waves. The world needs change. I haven’t read Zibi’s book “Manifesto” but am now going to buy it. It’s the least I can do. I wish him and Rise Mzanzi the very best in their endeavours to make a difference.

  • David Franklin says:

    Denise Smit reflects the DA attitude *PERFECTLY*. She sneers at Songezo Zibi for asking people what they need, as if that is a sign that he is stupid, rather than a solid indicator that he is humble and respectful. The DA hierarchy, on the other hand, are convinced that they know exactly what everyone needs, even people who they have never spent any quality time with. How many DA madams have employed “Sylvia” for twenty years to clean their homes and look after their kids, without knowing that Sylvia is actually Noluthando Sisulu, lives in KwaFord with two of her kids and five grandkids, who all have names? How many DA madams can speak more than five words of IsiXhosa/Sesotho/Tsonga, etc. to their “maids”?
    But despite their complete ignorance of most South Africans, the DA are certain that they know exactly what everyone else needs. That is deeply patronising. And wrong: one of the things people need is a voice. They need to have their opinions heard.
    You know that, Denise, or you wouldn’t keep offering your opinions here. Seems you don’t think that the opinion of a poor Xhosa person from Tsolo merits the same attention as yours…

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Great idea Rise Mzansi!! Right. The DA has done that for years. Cape Town only allows the President and Vice President to have a blue light cavalcade.

    The DA will get rid of them where-ever the run the town.

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