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From appointee MPs to the people’s choice – a new beginning for democracy in SA

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Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views.

South Africa can only be rescued by its citizens and not by new political parties, never mind their numbers – or illusory promises.

The date of the general elections this year will be set by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and must be within 90 days of the end of the term of the current Parliament in mid-May 2024. This leaves mid-August as Ramaphosa’s final limit for the election date.

Four new political parties have splintered from the ANC in the past three months, ahead of the general elections, formed by former leaders and members.

Ace Magashule, the former secretary-general of the ANC and premier of the Free State for about 10 years, has formed a new party called the African Congress for Transformation (ACT). Carl Niehaus, the former national spokesperson during the Mandela era, has formed the African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (Areta), while retired General Maomela “Mojo” Motau has formed Africa Africans Reclaim (AAR). Last, former president and convicted criminal Jacob Zuma is aligned to and is campaigning for a political party called uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK), although he claims to be still an ANC member.

All four political parties have been formed by people who enjoyed life under former president Zuma. Now that their Radical Economic Transformation faction is no longer in office they are ditching the ANC. They do not support the ANC under President Ramaphosa – Magashule and Niehaus after being expelled, with General Motau disgruntled under the new leadership, while Zuma is still facing arms deal charges, evading the courts on a continuous basis and playing hide and seek.

The ANC itself is still led by corrupt leaders implicated in the Zondo Commission report, the VBS bank heist report, as well as the eThekwini solid waste tender and the Vrede dairy farm project, whose money was siphoned off and used to fund the Gupta wedding at Sun City in 2013. 

Harrismith town under the greater Maluti-a-Phofung municipality went bankrupt under Magashule’s premiership in the Free State. Can Magashule now do anything better for the South African people than what he did as premier of the Free State? His new political party can only create employment for him and his friends, but nothing constructive for the people of South Africa, let alone the Free State.

Niehaus, as an ardent supporter of former president Zuma and the former spokesperson of the defunct uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, can do very little to help the people of South Africa. He then joined the EFF of Julius Malema, and now hopes for employment as an MP and consequently a steady income and pension for himself. 

As the author of a document, ANC Turnaround Strategy 2025: Changing the Course of History, Motau has formed his political party called AAR, peeling off another layer from ANC members and former MK veterans. He will struggle to get enough votes to secure a parliamentary seat with his new party, while Magashule will get partial sentimental support from the Free State.

ANC’s Zuma problem

Zuma will reduce ANC support among fellow isiZulu-speakers in KZN and Gauteng with his MK political party, which has the potential to cause more problems within the ANC and for the ANC. The use of the MK name has enraged many former uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) members, who feel disillusioned, betrayed and discarded by the ANC mother body. Some former MK soldiers have joined the MK political party hoping to get seats in the national and provincial parliaments and secure reasonably adequate pensions for their families.

This MK party will definitely reduce the ANC vote. But there’s no certainty as to whether it can secure more seats than Cope in its prime years in 2009, or EFF in 2014 and the UDM in 1999. The ACT of Magashule, AAR of General Motau and the MK political party aligned with Zuma will all reduce the ANC vote in different proportions, but only time will tell whether the ANC will go below 50% of the votes nationally.

All these four political parties have been formed by staunch supporters of former president Zuma. During Zuma’s reign, when the economy of the country was being destroyed, they were in the driving seats. They will bring nothing new for South Africa’s citizens.

Now Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, has established another new political party that will supposedly focus on LGTBQI rights. This party will also reduce ANC support, and it will also divide family support between father and son. These countless new political parties will not help South African citizens. Only the democratic reform of appointee parliamentary electoral laws can rescue the country from rampant politicians.

Ultimately South Africa can only be rescued by its citizens and not by new political parties, never mind their numbers – or illusory promises.

All political parties, including the ANC, will be forced to nominate credible and authentic candidates to compete for the 200 seats, which will be contested on a constituency basis. This will be the first time since 1994 that there are directly elected MPs in the National Assembly, responsible to us, as voters, in constituencies.

Fellow South Africans, let us use our power as voters to demand that we ourselves can elect trustworthy members of Parliament.

That is the only way we can lift South Africa from its mess of corruption. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andre Swart says:

    ‘Democracy’ means WE the people are the bosses, not corrupt politicians!

    Let’s SHOW the arrogant bastards who’s boss by terminating their 30 years of extravagance and plunder.

    We desperately need a FRESH START in SA!

  • Ben Harper says:

    A new beginning for Democracy in SA starts with the demise of the anc

  • Brian Doyle says:

    Well thought out article, but the basis is still that we need honest, credible politicians who work on behalf and for the people, something we do not have enough of at the moment-especially in the corrupt ANC

  • Trevor Thompson says:

    The first step towards integrity in our electoral system is to address the proportional representation system where parties choose our representatives for us – we have no say in the matter. We need to take control of who represents us by amending the legislation accordingly.

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