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The ANC ‘renewal boat’ has sailed, so who will rise and take up the political baton in the 2024 elections?

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Wayne Duvenage is a businessman and entrepreneur turned civil activist. Following former positions as CEO of AVIS and President of SA Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, Duvenage has headed the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse since its inception in 2012.

Any talk of an ANC renewal is a pipe dream and 2024 is most likely the beginning of the end for the party that has governed South Africa since democracy in 1994. All trends and current dynamics project that the ANC will not achieve a majority vote in the national elections, just over two years from now, and with last year’s coalition formations of ‘anyone-but-the-ANC’, their presidential candidate stands little hope of being in charge of the country in 2024.

Over the past 15 years, the ANC’s popularity has declined sharply and in last year’s local government elections, the ANC dropped to 46% of the vote, about 10 points down on its prior local election result, giving rise to loss of control within many of the big metros and cities across the country. All indications point to the fact that the governing party is expected to dip well below 50% for the first time in a national election. 

The ANC knows it is in big trouble, and its 2024 electioneering campaign has already begun. At a recent gathering to reflect on the life and passing of Desmond Tutu, ANC regional spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni said: “The movement has faced quite a number of challenges, but I think, where we are now, we have taken a decision to say the ANC needs to renew itself, do things differently. We need to make sure that those who are found at the wrong end of the moral stick, they are held accountable.”

To most, Mtsweni’s comments are regarded as hollow and meaningless, spoken for the sake of having something to say, given that the late Archbishop Tutu was a critic of the ANC, vowing in 2013 to never vote for the party again while he was alive.

There is almost nothing the ANC can do to renew itself, for it is a party continually trapped within its own web of failed governance and corruption. Too many of its current leaders are compromised, and the fading public trust can never be fixed by chants of renewal, while a total lack of accountability exists for many within its ranks on gross maladministration and corruption. The “renewal boat” has sailed and it will be nigh impossible for a fractious ANC to deliver on a clean-up of its brand within the next two years.

The door for a new political option is wide open

The past two elections have shown us that voters are tired and unimpressed by the political party options available to them. During last year’s November local elections, millions of citizens were simply unwilling to vote and only 12 million – less than half of the 26 million registered voters – showed up on election day. On top of that, there were another 12 million eligible citizens who never bothered to register for voting. This means that of the 38 million people who were eligible to vote in 2021, about 26 million (68%) didn’t do so. 

More pointers for a new political option are exhibited by the inability of the current opposition players to capitalise on a weakened governing party. Instead of turning out to vote against the ANC, voters stayed at home and preferred not to vote, largely unimpressed by what the populist EFF or the DA had to offer. A new player in ActionSA showed promise (limited to Gauteng metros) and a couple of the smaller parties, such as the IFP (largely in KZN) and the Freedom Front Plus, along with a handful of independent candidates, made minor gains. However, doubt exists as to whether any one of these “gainers” could pull off a major breakthrough in the 2024 national elections.  

Herein lies the opportunity for real and meaning change in South Africa, through the development and rise of a fresh and new alternative. One whose policies lie in the middle of the ANC and the DA, offering authentic and diverse leadership, representative of the nation’s desire for good governance and real prosperous growth. In the end, it will come down to a leadership team with high EQ, low egos and a concise, believable strategy and vision for SA.  

Should a new political entity desire to make a significant impact in 2024, it will need to court the missing and disillusioned electorate, while also fetching the youth and convincing a sizeable portion of those who haven’t registered, to do so. The new party or political alternative will need to focus its strategy on building a nation of active citizens to become part of the solution. There is sufficient time to do so over the next two years, with examples of what not to do being provided by the Copes and Agangs of our past.

The question is which strong leadership team will rise and take up the baton for millions of South Africans who yearn for positive and meaningful change? It’s either that, or our 2024 elections, in just over two years, will be fraught with the same party options and electioneering bumf that will give rise to lower voter turnout and a messy horse-traded Cabinet. Time is of the essence. Ticktock, ticktock. DM

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All Comments 9

  • A great article. Trouble is this – TIME.

    So this is what I suggest. Not as a final answer or even an answer, but a START.

    We only have a couple of years to get into gear, not long. Whatever solution we arrive at it must be PRACTICAL. There is no such thing as perfect. The party closest to being an alternative to the ANC in South Africa is the DA. It runs the Westen Cape fairly well. I see a lot of snide comments about it, but very few actual faults are ever mentioned. When one asks what is wrong with the DA the answer is mostly about some nebulous personal fault.

    So let us start with the DA for this coming election, get rid of the ANC, tame the impractical EFF and then spread out to the smaller parties. Please, not the Good Party!

    Democratic – Non-racial – Liberal

    • The same old die hard DA fan. The same fan that find it impossible to understand that a virtual “White only” party (in its current leadership breakdown) will never gain more than around 20% of the national vote. And even in the case of the the Western Cape, it is currently in a very shaky position, and a drop to well below 50% is on the cards, unless its memberhip and leadership become fully representative of the population breakdown

      • Coen, is Phalatse, the new Mayor of Jo’burg, white? I seem to remember a previous post of yours informed us that you have retired to the ‘bush’. Does that entail a loss of a sense of reality?

  • Good analysis on the ANC Wayne.
    Attractive plan for a new government to replace the current corrupt incompetents.
    If only we could find a magic wand to make it happen.

  • Fully agree with you Wayne. Like the article that Branco posted a week ago, the only way to move the country forward is the emergence of a party representative of the polulation breakdown…somewhere between the ANC and the DA. ActionSA is currently the closest to that, but it is still going through growing pains, and 2024 is two years away, a lifetime in politics. What is do foresee is the government post the election will almost certainly be a coalition government, with all the problems that scenario represent.

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