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Change Ends Now – Roger Jardine’s new political party won’t contest May 29 polls

Change Ends Now – Roger Jardine’s new political party won’t contest May 29 polls
Roger Jardine during the launch of Change Starts Now's election manifesto at the Kliptown Youth Centre on 19 February 2024 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

The political party, launched in December 2023, is out of the 2024 election race before it’s even started. The move follows a decision by the Constitutional Court not to hear a matter on signature requirements for unrepresented parties.

Former FirstRand Group chair Roger Jardine’s political start-up Change Starts Now will not contest in the 2024 national and provincial elections, the leader announced on Thursday evening. 

The party had only 10 days prior launched its manifesto in Kliptown, Soweto, on 19 February 2024, setting out big ideas to improve society. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Banker-turned-presidential hopeful Roger Jardine proposes R500bn wealth and pensions tax to reconstruct SA

The banker-turned-party leader, in a statement posted to X, blamed the “…recent Constitutional Court ruling and the barriers it imposes on newly established political parties”, which means Change Starts Now “like several other parties, faces a prejudicial, logistical timetable to qualify for the ballot”.

“We have therefore taken a decision that, while we believe that it is essential to give voters as much encouragement to vote by providing them with a range of options, in the interests of increasing the chances of political change, we offer support to political parties who share our values and the aspirations that we believe voters are looking for,” Jardine said.

On Monday, South Africa’s apex court declined to hear a matter relating to signature requirements for unrepresented political parties on an urgent basis. Political think tank Rivonia Circle and Mmusi Maimane’s Build One SA (Bosa) had petitioned the Constitutional Court in December 2023, to urgently finalise its decision on how many signatures new parties which are not represented in any of the legislatures needed for the elections. 

This is after the Constitutional Court struck out the Electoral Amendment Act’s provision requiring that to stand, independents needed to obtain signatures equivalent to 15% of the votes required to win a seat in the previous election in the province in which they intended to register. It ruled that independent candidates required 1,000 signatures of registered voters to register with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). 

However, the court stopped short of scrapping the 15% requirement for parties which are not represented in any of the legislatures.  

The IEC earlier on Monday had chided political parties complaining about the signature threshold and submission timeframe. It said that all independent candidates and political parties who intend to contest in the elections must submit their nomination requirements by 8 March.

‘Continue to work on’

Jardine launched Change Starts Now on 10 December last year, in Riverlea, Johannesburg. Many residents of the crime-ridden community were unconvinced of Jardine’s presidential bid, questioning the timing of the party’s launch

The party’s leadership comprised some familiar faces, including veteran activist and former Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood, former Helen Suzman Foundation director Nicole Fritz, the Progressive Health Forum’s Dr Aslam Dasoo, and former UDF leader and Thabo Mbeki speechwriter Murphy Morobe. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Roger Jardine: ‘We have to fix the balance sheets of SA Inc,’ says Change Starts Now presidential hopeful

“Change Starts Now (CSN) was launched in December 2023, recognising a desperate national crisis. We understood then what our research has since shown us: South Africans are demanding political change, and their expectations and demands for a political alternative are not being met,” Jardine said on Thursday.

“Ours and independent research tells us that only 41% of voters want to vote for the African National Congress (ANC). However, South Africa’s dilemma is that not enough voters see current opposition parties as an acceptable alternative.”

Jardine said that in the nearly three months since Change Starts Now’s launch, it had “established a significant national following and launched our Change Charter – a manifesto for hope – widely acknowledged as a pragmatic vision for how we kickstart our economy and drive inclusive development and social solidarity”. 

He said that while the party’s research and engagements with South Africans had shown people are “abandoning the ANC, a lot of political work is needed to unite South Africans behind a shared vision for the future of our country”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Latest poll shows ANC’s rocky road to election, with coalition potholes ahead

Jardine concluded that “CSN will continue to work on, champion and advocate for the ideas in our Change Charter”. DM

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  • JOHANN SCHOLTZ says:

    Great. The last thing we need is more rats and mice political parties that eventually ends up as coalition partners to the ANC in exchange for positions. The mess that is Jhb council being the prime example.

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      Agreed. Many in fact are proxy ANC ab initio. The ruling on independents makes it even worse. Dozens of voices adding to the chaos.

    • Derrick Kourie says:

      Agreed. Instead of trying to start yet another party, those with political aspirations should identify an existing party that most closely matches their ideology, and then do the hard working their of bringing your influence to bear on shaping the policies of that party. It is natural that there will be a breadth of opinions within such a party. If you cannot persuade others of your ideas from within an existing larger party, maybe your ideas are not as good as you imagine. Maybe you are driven by hubris and egotism.

      The assertion that “not enough voters see current opposition parties as an acceptable alternative” to the ANC is wearisome. Voters inevitably have to compromise when voting. Adult life entails compromise. If you cannot abide compromise then, like a spoilt child sulking on the sidelines, stay away from the polls.

      • Bob Dubery says:

        I hear that being said a lot, but I’m not sure it’s a way to get a message across. If Jardine joined an established party he wouldn’t even be a back bencher. He’d at best be a member of a branch. Unless that party decides to start selling leadership positions, which will come out and which will produce a lot of headlines.

        And there is a gap. The ANC have lost the trust of a lot of people, not so much because of policy but because they don’t do anything (exemplified by their leader who is statesmanlike but ineffective at home). The DA can’t win the trust of most South Africans. And those are the only two parties with any kind of track record of anything. OK, except for the PA who earning themselves a reputation as vigilante wannabes.

        So there are gaps. There is a question about what the people of South Africa want (what they don’t want is a much easier question) and Jardine or Zibi or Maimane should be able to offer their vision. Joining another party is not going to get that message across any time soon.

        • Geoff Coles says:

          Thing is Bob, these one man bands offer their vision, just not the right route.

        • Colin Braude says:

          Bob’s comment accurately describes the ignorance many commentators have about politics.

          Take one position: The DA appointed three newbies as its Mayor of Johannesburg candidate: Mmusi Maimane, Herman Mashaba and Mpho Phalatse, all of whom persuaded that party that they were the most fit for purpose

    • Hari Seldon says:

      Disagree – the DA has alienated a lot of black voters and we need a viable alternative 3rd party that’s well run with good policies to attract the black vote that is fed up with the ANC but also dislikes the DA. The DA needs to do some serious internal reflection to move beyond a 25% party.

  • Steve Du Plessis says:

    There is a god…

  • Just Me says:

    Roger Jardine says exactly what the DA is saying, and like the DA acknowledges that SA needs change and that this change cannot (CANNOT) come through the ANC as the ANC is the problem.

    Mr. Jardine should endorse the DA and think of joining the DA.

    • Peter Oosthuizen says:

      Good swap – Jardine for Zille

      • Malcolm Mitchell says:

        Not too sure , this wanabee President did not exactly cover himself in glory during his stay at Aveng. Two very good contracting companies were decimated.

      • Alan Watkins says:

        No No No!. Jardine should do the hard work and earn his stripes before attaining or being awarded a senior position.

    • Dhasagan Pillay says:

      Why? The last foray into an election involved a rather tubby looking white gent standing as he spoke over string instruments, I believe this may have been Johnny’s version of uplifting, while grinning older Black folks held flags like demented butlers and housemaids. How the hell will that inspire any self-made, perfectly capable of original thought, person of colour. Especially since that little video fiasco of a manifesto/promise or whatever that was, after Mmusi Maimane left under a cloud and senior party members started their “failed project” narrative. And, while there have been no credible observations of naked dancing under the full moon, or audio records of hearty cackes, by members of the shadow caucus and fedex – such utterances do paint an unfortunate picture. Intelligence is everywhere, I think that we can agree on that post-Apartheid. Insisting that you know best for an electorate who is still in large able to recount every Christmas that you didn’t… tends to alienate folks. And while the veiled little jibes against the intelligence and activity of people of colour remain a regular feature in this comments section, y’all need the clever Blacks 😉

  • J vN says:

    The former ANC cadre, Jardine, can blame the ConCourt decision all he likes, but he should really look in the mirror to find the problem. His proposal to increase taxes on the very few taxpayers that fund the ANC’s excesses, so that the cadres can plunder even more, was never going to be a winning strategy and from then on, the writing was on the wall. Actually astonishing that somebody who was allegedly a high-powered banking exec, could be so childishly ignorant.

  • Cameron murie says:

    Seems to me, if a party wants elected, but doesn’t even cope with the election rules and regs – any half decent lawyer could sort out- they can be dismissed as credible players.
    Fail to plan = plan to fail as is the case here

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    Roger and out

  • Dave Black says:

    His proposed R500b wealth tax on the very people who are keeping the country afloat would only have resulted in more of those people packing for Perth anyway, diminishing the tax base even further. No loss here in my opinion.

  • Lisanne Pienaar-De Gouveia says:

    It may be worth while for these smaller parties to collaborate and join hands to establish a larger democratic alternative.

  • George 007 says:

    I’m purely guessing here, but I think Jardine may also have run out of money or didn’t want to waste it on a dark horse campaign.

  • Nick Griffon says:

    Let’s be honest.
    Only his friends would have voted for him anyhow.
    His ideas of increased taxes was just delusional.

  • John Patson says:

    So much for democracy. It should be for the voters to decide if they like a party, not the judges.
    If the country thinks having too many political parties is a problem, change to a first past the post system — the Monster Raving Loony Party in the UK has contested every general election for years without getting a seat — although it has come third a few times…

  • Ray Jones says:

    I think that the biggest shock to the ANC, is that the MK has won a bi-election in the Secunda area, which is not KZN and had 51% of the Poll.
    Wow!! ANC

    • andrew farrer says:

      problem ‘s for all of us. votes to mk, eff(luent), pa,al-jammy etc are all votes for corruption, looting and zero governance

    • andrew farrer says:

      We need to bring in ranked choice voting to thin the herd of these pop-ups. If you cant get enough votes to win a seat, bye-bye, and your votes go to the voters second choice . . The last thing we need is abillion parties with the resultant fuck up like, for example, Israel has

    • Alan Watkins says:

      The problem is that the ANC is bad, shockingly criminally bad, and everyone knows that. And MK is the worst of the worst from the bad, shockingly criminally bad party,….and everybody knows that too..

  • Hilary Morris says:

    A case of ego over common sense? All these small start up wannabes should get behind established parties and do what they claim to want – i.e. make a difference. We do not need more parties, we need more hands on deck to get rid of ANC. Hopefully another dozen or so will follow suit and fold.

    • Alan Watkins says:

      I read there were 300 parties wanting to contest for votes in thsi election, and there are maybe 20 to 30, or not many more than that, currently represented in the various parliaments. Even if we get 3 times the number of parties meeting teh requirements and contesting, that makes maybe 90. Of the 90, 40 to 50 can be expected to get zero seats and will fade away, following the more than 200 that fall away before the elections. The one good thing you say about Change Starts Now is that they were smart enough to make a realistic and fast assessment of being able to contest, and have pulled out smartly. Hundreds of other rats and mice will wail, whinge and whine, rend their hair, and gnash their teeth right up to and after 29 May, and then quickly fade away.

  • Philip Machanick says:

    What’s with the snarky headline and comments?

    They gave it a good go and were realistic enough to bow out, rather than go in half-baked, possibly not contesting enough provinces to make an impact.

    On the “Why not support DA?” questions…

    The simplest critique of the ANC is they had 30 years. Well, so did the DA (if you include their progenitor, the DP).

    In 2014, for the first time, “Didn’t vote”, was the largest bloc of voters. This is as much an indictment of the opposition as of the ANC. We need something fresh – but at least one thing this monster signature requirement has done is thin the field. While I feel for those who supported CSN, at least what we can be sure of is that those left in the game have mobilisation capacity. That actually matters more than e.g. monster rallies, as your ground game can be a decider in elections. Last election, EFF pretty much matched ANC for rallies, yet got less than a fifth of their vote.

    So let’s see who’s left and keep an open mind on alternatives.

    • BT Ohlange says:

      As someone born in the mid-90s who doesn’t remember the first few elections, it was crazy to me to learn that anybody thought the National Party would ever be a viable opposition.

      The Democratic Party was a much needed alternative to the NP and IFP as main opposition.

      But if we followed the modern DA logic, we would argue in the 1999 election that voting for the DP was a waste of time because they were a 1% party, and that we should spend time trying to convince South Africans to vote for (literally) the National Party.

      From the legacy of Helen Suzman’s single seat, to trying to bully rather than persuade anti-ANC voters to fall in line. The DA needs to reflect deeply on what liberal democracy actually means.

    • Stephen Mcbride says:

      Agree with Philip Machanick.
      The “join an establish party” have never tried to join an established party to try and change it.
      It has its own constitution and inbred set of morals that is supported by the hierarchy.
      You can argue but as your premises is different to theirs (and as they are in the majority) the will vote and talk you down. Points of order and the power of the seat.
      So to start your own party with like minded people the only way. But the problem is money to get your message across so that all like minded people support you.
      Newspaper reporting so bad that they do not properly report on any party. All done from the bias of the reporter and not enough facts given.
      And for those who think that “the rich” will not pay extra. Not always true. They will if there is a return from it. If they see that the short term increase in payment will lead to an end to corruption and a long term reduction in tax the will pay.
      You will pay to have inverter installed as it reduces your electrical bill.
      You will pay to extra to have railway going to your factory as it will decrease your transport bill. But they will need to see that it has benefits for them it must not go into Social Welfare or politician pockets or employing more people to do nothing.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    A significant national following….that I doubt.

    Anyway, bye!

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Classic , too much blah,blah and big ego to boot , like many others ,vanity projects disguised as vision for a country in distress !
    Just vote DA there is a future at stake !!
    Look at whats hapening in Ekurhuleni its a frightening movie of wht the future could hold for South Africa!!!

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Reeks of a vanity project. Good riddance.

  • Rob Alexander says:

    The last thing needed is an increase in taxes to fix the ANC’s mess We need to fix corruption. Prosecute and jail the corruptors and their corruptees FIRST. A few orange overalls will have a salutary effect.

  • Johan Buys says:

    It really is past due for like-minded opposition to consolidate in one party or one legally binding alliance.

    If Johnny the representative for Acme Party in Oudtshoorn falls for a promise of deputy assistant speaker if he votes for different alliance than Acme are committed to, then Johnny is dismissed on the spot and replaced with another Acme representative. Same for Parliament as for councils and provinces.

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