Four opposition parties should ditch their egos and unite
Helen Zille may not have the greatest communication skills around but you can’t dispute her claim that further disintegration of the opposition vote works in favour of the ANC.
Take, for instance, four potentially very good opposition parties – Build One SA (Bosa), ActionSA, Rise Mzansi and Change Starts Now.
Egos aside, these are four parties that should become one powerful entity with the real potential to become South Africa’s main opposition.
Imagine a single party made up of former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, former editor Songezo Zibi, and respected business executive Roger Jardine.
Zille argues that small opposition parties should all close shop and join the DA. Wrong.
The DA is not interested in serving black and coloured communities. It is only interested in using them as voting cattle and not as vital stakeholders in the party.
The four parties above are born out of the growing and powerful strata of black middle-class professionals – from public servants to middle managers in the private sector.
This group has the biggest buying power and pays the taxes that keep the government running.
It’s the same group that frustrated Jacob Zuma when he took charge of the ANC. Clever blacks, he called them. People who take out insurance for their dogs and even walk them.
Now, on the eve of every election, there is a battle for this group’s votes by the ANC which is often frustrated by rampant corruption in the public sector.
For a short time, the DA attracted this group and would have attracted more of them had it not pushed so many influential black leaders out of its ranks.
Most recently, the party forced former Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse – a rare gem in politics today – to return to her private practice after being undermined in the DA.
Apart from confusing the electorate, these four opposition parties are frustrating pro-democracy investors who want to fund parties like them that are founded on the core values of the Constitution.
If the four had formed a single party they could have pooled together the largesse from these funders and built a war chest big enough to give the ANC a run for its money.
And now with the emergence of radical movements like the EFF and uMkhonto Wesizwe, there is an even bigger need for a party that wants to fight for people’s rights and civil liberties.
The ANC itself says it is no longer the party it used to be. And that is true. We watch daily the ANC government’s security forces opening fire on unarmed community members simply because they are protesting for clean drinking water.
Pictured above: Songezo Zibi of Rise Mzansi, Roger Jardine of Change Starts Now, Herman Mashaba of ActionSA and Mmusi Maimane of Build One SA.