Letter from the DM168 editor

New parties have promising young leaders, but they won’t topple ANC unless they join coalitions

New parties have promising young  leaders,  but they won’t topple ANC unless they join  coalitions
Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane attends a community meeting in Soweto on 26 October 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Most pre-election opinion polls show that Rise Mzansi and Bosa do not feature in the top five parties. Instead, the only new party in the top five is a party of troglodytes, Jacob Zuma’s MK party

Dear DM168 reader,

It’s 4 May, exactly 25 days to one of South Africa’s most pivotal elections. Entrepreneur and social activist Tebogo Moalusi coined the phrase “2024 is our 1994″ in 2022. In an opinion piece published on News24, he related how pivotal 1994 was for his father.

Moalusi, who was 10 years old in 1994, remembers his father saying he had to vote to “pay tribute to Chris Hani, who was brutally assassinated only a year before”.

For his father, voting in 1994 was a “duty to country, a commitment to the liberation struggle and a prayer for his children. It was a vote for change and hope.”

Fast-forward to 2024 and Moalusi, now 40, has, like most South Africans, come to this realisation: “We had given the governing party so many chances to advance the promises of 1994, and what we are inheriting is a dysfunctional country run by corrupt politicians who have sold out on the vision of our ancestors and liberation leaders.”

Moalusi subsequently joined Songezo Zibi and a bunch of young professionals and community activists in the new social democratic party Rise Mzansi to be part of leading the change they identify is needed “to forge a safe, prosperous, equal and united South Africa in one generation”.

I am energised by the vision and the “let’s use our skills to fix our country mindset” of the competent, experienced under-45-year-olds in Rise Mzansi.

It’s an energy and will to make South Africa work that I also see reflected in Mmusi Maimane’s Build One South Africa (Bosa).

For example, Maimane’s deputy at Bosa, Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster, founder of the SA Women’s Commission, left a successful business career because she realised no one is going to save us. And young people with skills need to show up. She says on the Bosa website: “Almost 30 years into democracy, there is a generation that has never seen the system work. We need to be willing to take the responsibility of making our country work into our own hands.”

The “2024 is our 1994” slogan reflects a deep desire of the young to wrest South Africa from the frozen-in-time old idealogues warming the benches of Parliament and the Cabinet, who have dragged us into the dysfunctional state we live in.

It could be argued that the biggest beneficiaries of 30 years of freedom under the governance of the ANC are the elite (of all racial demographics), the criminals and the corrupt, the mafia syndicates in every sphere of public life from hospitals to construction, the truck and taxi industries, gangsters and drug merchants. 

Hollowed out and ineffective, police and criminal justice institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority have let criminals continue on their path of greed and destruction with impunity. 

This dysfunctional state that the ANC created is no place for the young, those whose minds are not clouded by apartheid but who have a future they want and need to build for their children – a future that requires creativity, critical thinking and collaboration, with the flexibility to compromise when necessary.

I’m in my late 50s and not young any more, but I fully identify with the need for new leadership with fresh ideas, skills and passion to serve the long-suffering South African people. 

Most pre-election opinion polls show that Rise Mzansi and Bosa do not feature in the top five parties. Instead, the only new party in the top five is a party of troglodytes – tribalist, big on bluster and small on vision, based on bitterness and patriarchal patronage: Jacob Zuma’s MK party, which the latest Ipsos poll shows will win 8% of the vote. 

I am excited about the outcome of this election and I hope our votes will allow the entrance of representatives in Parliament who are untainted by the baggage of old racist or struggle ideologies and allegiances. 

But I disagree that 2024 is akin to 1994. In 1994 there was no contest for the ANC, even though the ANC agreed to the short-lived government of national unity, with FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki as joint deputy presidents to Nelson Mandela.

This pivotal election is actually a tad reminiscent of an older South African election – an election in which just over 1 million white people decided the fate of the rest of us, the election that led to apartheid in 1948. 

In 1948, Jan Smuts’s governing United Party (UP) won 49% of the vote, but a coalition formed by the Herenigde Nasionale Party and the Afrikaner Party won 79 seats in the House of Assembly against a combined total of 74 won by the UP and the Labour Party. Smuts was talking about gradually introducing racial integration, but the nationalist coalition played on swart gevaar (black danger) and chose grand apartheid. 

With the latest Ipsos poll saying the ANC will win 40% of the vote, the DA 21.9%, the EFF 11% and the MK party 8%, there’s a possibility that we could have a coalition of more of the same ANC corruption, patronage and cadre deployment after 29 May. 

This means the desire and willingness of the young for change will be deflated. And if the 1948 election result is anything to go by, they could be deflated for a long time. 

With 11% of the vote, Julius Malema and the EFF are kingmakers in most coalition scenarios, so it would be wise to listen to what he says. I have been doing this – watching Malema’s interview on Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh’s show and the Wits School of Governance election series

Malema has matured and comes across as pragmatic or opportunistic, or both. Reading between the lines, he appears to be open to a coalition with opposition parties to unseat the ANC. Will they be open to the EFF, though? 

Either way, dear reader, every single one of our votes counts. My vote will be for a corruption-free, collaborative, innovative, non-racial, educated, safe, just and equal future with a high employment rate for all of working age. What’s yours? Write to me at [email protected] to share your views. 

In today’s lead story in DM168 Dianne Hawker writes about all the legal challenges to the 29 May election. Find out whether this means the election might need to be postponed. And Chris Makhaye, our KwaZulu-Natal correspondent, delves deep into Jacob Zuma’s MK party – and wonders who exactly will be left in the party after Zuma’s purges.

Yours in defence of truth,




                             This story first appeared in our weekly DM168 newspaper, available countrywide for R35.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • James Baxter says:

    I am sorry to say but leadership capabilities are lacking in SA. Apart from the premier of GP. We are suffering from a severe lack of exemplary leadership. You have leaders like Lee Kuan yew of Singapore who steered a country with no water, let alone a forest to become the most beautiful country in the world. Singapore has to import drinking water because they don’t have a river. He had nothing to rub between his fingers to ignite Singaporean development. But here in SA, we have very educated leaders from DA EFF ANC ifp etc. But they can’t ignite the fire that will spark our country to rise from the mediocrity that it finds itself in. Some visionary leadership and stuff. Our taxpayers pay our leaders good money to rub something so that that something can do something. I am a black boy from township, I don’t have money to build SA, I want to build SA, I want to be the next Mandela, but I don’t have the looks that Mandela had, and I don’t have the pedigree that he had. Our leaders get paid good money, and they can do something meaningful with a few thousand of their own money, like Gift on the givers and stuff. Look at those guys, they go to Eastern Cape to provide food parcels in deep rural areas, doctors who could have spent their time in Sandton with good looking girls, but they are in eastern cape doing good deeds, with thier time.

    • Coen Gous says:

      Extremely good comment. There are good leaders there in the new parties, in particular Singezo Zibi, by they get swallowed up by the better know large parties, ANC, DA,EFF and now MK. The country will never really change unless these 4 parties simply collapse.

      • James Baxter says:

        I am not an expert on leadership and I am certain that currently that I myself am not a leader. But I read a lot because I don’t have money to go to Konka. What I can say is that I have read one too many books. And some of those books shone a light on seminal figures like Lee Kuan Yew, Deng Xiaoping, and the South Korean guy who ignited Korean industrialisation after he took power in a coup. In the West you had Roosevelt and JP Morgan who built the American empire. You look at those guys and you realise that here in SA we do have leaders who can help us develop such as Johan Rupert, and Panyaza. They are there, but they are not in the right place or they are not strong enough to muscle their way into that position where they can dictate what SA should do. Johan Rupert is an extremely intelligent South African, son of the soil who should have asserted himself more in the nation building project. He built Richemont and that shows that he is a genius. Our political leaders, apart from Panyaza are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. They are not activist in a sense, they don’t deal with material conditions, they are TV leaders who tell a good story, but they don’t do like what the gift of the givers do. That is do stuff, you can wax lyrical and stuff on TV. But action speak louder. Imtiaz Patel has done more for thousands of people than some of our biggest TV leaders who wax lyrical on mainstream media platforms and maybe that is good for them and their stomachs

        • Denise Smit says:

          I think there are more than one person using your name. You see to be a few people using a fishing technique to draw people and then you come with the real stuff. This is another educated JB who is promoting the red party

      • Denise Smit says:

        And you go along with it. Who are you ?

    • Coen Gous says:

      James, to me to seems like a person with good education, bright, but also integrity. You will be a leader sir, although not in politics. SA needs people like you, and I am lily White.

      • James Baxter says:

        Thank you very much Coen. I wish to lead something or someone. Even if I lead my wife and children, depending on whether I get a wife who is capable of listening to his husband. Women today are powerful and men are weak, and I too am weak from a gender perspective. But thanks Coen, I believe that white citizens should be part of SA, going forward, and BBBEE and EE should be scrapped because they don’t benefit me, I don’t care if they benefit other people. All of us, white black Chinese Indian should come together like in the olden days when Mandela, Kathrada, Bizos stood together to work for a better tomorrow

    • Denise Smit says:

      This is comment promoting Panyana Lesufi and the ANC, nothing less. Who are you really James Baxter?

    • Denise Smit says:

      Why do you use the name James Baxter?

  • Colin Braude says:

    This is an extraordinary article, one that future historians will study.

    Historians of media, to see the DM being forced to close for a day because its appeal to political dilettante wokistas is not viable.
    Historians of politics because of what the article manages to *not* say.

    Incredibly the Official Opposition DA gets mentioned only once, begrudgingly, in a poll result.
    Yet the choice in this “decisive” election is basically between more failing-state central planning or relying on the markets. The East German/North Korea offer of the ANC/EFF/MK/PA or the West German/South Korea offer of the “DA cluster”.

    Yes, the normal mushrooming of parties that will be a “better ANC without the ANC baggage” or a “better DA without the DA baggage” are there (following UDM, Cope, Agang, &c), but they fail to offer genuine *alternatives* to the ANC / DA (failing state / open opportunity society) options. Many of them promised a new politics to bring in the unregistered and abstainers, but the IEC registration figures show no such effect.

    Talking of the IEC and mushroom parties, perhaps DM could do an article explaining why the IEC condoned the ANC’s late candidate submission (due to its own disorganisation) in 2021 but failed to condone the mushroom parties’ signature submissions that missed the deadline due to the IEC’s website disorganisation.

    • Dietmar Horn says:

      People are fallible and have different character traits. Nobody is perfect but there are total failures. It’s bad when a country is led into the abyss by criminals and failures. Even a liberal democracy can never be perfect because there are no perfect people. In a democracy it is possible to vote out a failed ideology and replace it with a competent governing party. However, competence does not equate to perfection. It’s bad when the majority of the electorate clings to the illusion of a perfect party and would rather accept that failures will remain in power. What’s worse is when journalists behave in exactly the same way and thus fail in their responsibility as the fourth power. Why can’t journalists who report every day about the obvious failure of government institutions simply say: “The DA is not perfect, but has proven competence, so give the DA a chance, give the country and yourself what may be the last chance!”?

  • Denise Smit says:

    And again you promote two parties, Rise Mansi and Bosa, and now you ad that Malema has matured. Joeg, what are you saying? He is suddenly becoming lily white with all his utterences. The one person who has not matured but clings on to her anti everything not ANC , anti DA is the writer. Do you know the struggle history of one of the best journalisits this country has ever produced – Hele Zille and go and take a few lessens in being neutral and forward thinking and stop promoting Rise Mansi for free. DM must do better

  • David Walker says:

    Oh dear, Heather. You can’t bring yourself to endorse the DA, despite its excellent track record of competence and its relentless exposure of ANC corruption, but somehow you are happy to endorse the hypocritical champagne socialists in the EFF? This might partly explain why we find ourselves in the mess we are in.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    I don’t think Heather can contemplate a scenario outside Gauteng based political parties, especially with failed political DA leaders starting their own Parties,and never ever including the DA which at least has a positive track record

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