Cape businessman launches new political party
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Cape Town - Ahead of this year’s local government elections, yet another new national political party, the Spectrum National Party (SNP), has been launched in Cape Town in a bid to attract voters away from the bigger established parties.
The SNP was registered in November 2019, but only launched last November and is led by businessman Christopher Claassen, who said that after 16 years running a security business and no previous experience in politics, he can take on the established parties.
Claassen said: “The ANC has lost its way, has neglected and ignored critical issues over many years that are central to the development of our people and the country.
“Look at the state of our state-owned enterprises, our health sector, our transport system, the environment, the unacceptably high levels of extremely violent crime, agriculture, education etc,” said Claassen.
“The economy is in the doldrums and will be such for some time to come. To resurrect it, it needs inspiring leadership that is prepared to make calculated tough decisions,” said Claassen.
According to the IEC, South Africa has 541 registered political parties and of these 275 are national.
Speaking about the chances of new smaller political parties against the bigger more established ones, senior political science lecturer at Stellenbosch University Collette Schulz-Herzenberg said: “At local government level there is space for a party that represents specific issues such as jobs or a specific constituency. So we must not demonise small start-up parties.”
Schulz-Herzenberg, who is an expert on voter behaviour, said: “The proportional representation system we have in South Africa encourages the formation of many parties, and unlike some other countries with a similar system we have no explicit threshold. In a country such as Israel, for instance, a party needs at least 5% of the vote to get a seat in Parliament.
“So we have a system here that has high representativity, but also one which creates a fragmented political scene,” said Schulz-Herzenberg
Political analyst Shingai Mutizwa-Mangiza said: “The structure of South Africa’s electoral system by its nature promotes greater diversity.
“In South Africa the system is still dominated by one party, the ANC, but theoretically coalitions are possible here and may yet happen in future elections. This is because born free voters, who don’t necessarily vote like their parents, might change the dynamics,” said Mutizwa-Mangiza.
“That will be when small parties can come in with a chance to be in the national government and have a real say,” said Mutiza-Mangiza.