Opposition pact could spell doom to the ANC


John Steenhuisen

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A COALITION by opposition parties in South Africa could emerge the biggest threat to the almost three-decade long stranglehold on power by Africa’s oldest liberation movement – the African National Congress (ANC).

In power since the end of apartheid in 1994, ANC is at the helm of a disgruntled populace and ahead of polls to be held next year when South Africa will be marking 30 years of self-rule, is beset by infighting.

For weeks, some opposition movements have been exploring a multi-party agreement to enhance their chances of dislodging the ANC, who they blame for the rampant crime, corruption and economic problems bedeviling Africa’s most advanced economy.

A major step was taken towards the arrangement on Wednesday when leaders of the main opposition, Democratic Alliance (DA), ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus (FFP), Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Spectrum National Party (SNP) and United Independent Movement (UIM) met for a Multi-Party National Convention east of Johannesburg.

The so-called Moonshot pact has settled for the name, “Multiparty Charter for South Africa.”

The convention was scheduled to run until Thursday.

“The next two days are not about politics or politicians,” said DA leader, John Steenhuisen at the opening of the convention.

“They are about the people of South Africa. Our mission at this National Convention is to provide concrete solutions to improve the lives of the South African people.”

Steenhuisen expressed commitment not only to defeat the ANC but to rescue South Africa.

There had been doubts over the parties coming together, considering the divisions among South Africa’s opposition parties, at times along racial lines.

“Now is the time for all leaders gathered here to put aside pettiness, ego and the past, so that we can focus on the future. The DA is irrevocably committed to this project,” Steenhuisen.

Herman Mashaba, leader of ActionSA, is upbeat the coalition will end the era of ANC as the dominant party since the democratic elctions, when the revered Nelson Mandela came to power.

Most of Mandela’s successors as head of party and state have bowed out of office under controversial circumstances.

Current leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, is embroiled in a personal scandal after vast amounts of foreign currency allegedly undeclared were found at his farm.

“ANC will lose its majority and all South Africans know this, but they have never seen opposition parties putting aside differences to give them hope,” Mashaba, a former mayor of Johannesburg said.

Mashaba’s working with DA represents a thawing of relationships.

He resigned from the DA in 2019 to form his party.

“As ActionSA, we commit ourselves to this National Convention and we have revealed how over 91 percent of South Africans want this project to succeed,” Mashaba said.

Commentator, Stuart Murray, said, “I foresee a future where this coming together of caring South African leaders will be marked as a milestone of democratic progress and the start of new prosperity for all that live in this wonderful country.”

The last municipal election in 2021 saw ANC’s dominance fall under 50 percent for the first time since 1994.

Because of the mounting problems, which include daily power cuts, the 2024 presidential poll is projected to be a watershed exercise.

Another major player at the poll would be the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which recently celebrated its tenth-anniversary and is projected to garner the vote of the first-time voters.

It has resonated with the challenges of the aspirations of the youth and majority blacks most affected by economic inequalities.

– CAJ News









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