Do this at your peril, DA warned

Chairperson of the Multi-Party Charter Professor William Gumede speaking to the media after the meeting of the parties. Picture: Kailene Pillay/IOL

Chairperson of the Multi-Party Charter Professor William Gumede speaking to the media after the meeting of the parties. Picture: Kailene Pillay/IOL

Published Dec 14, 2023


Durban — Political analysts have warned the DA that the idea of “parachuting” credible academics and business people into political positions would not work in South Africa.

The analysts were reacting to speculation that the DA was courting newly-established Change Starts Now party founder Roger Jardine to be a presidential candidate for the Multi-Party Charter coalition the DA was leading.

It was also reported that the DA national leadership had met Jardine where they apparently discussed making him the face of the MPC election campaign.

University of KwaZulu-Natal political lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said parachuting in people with no political popularity was an ill-conceived idea by the DA, and that it would again fail as was the case in the past.

Ndlovu warned that pushing the little-known Jardine would divide the MPC and weaken its chances of ever unseating the ANC.

“What the DA was apparently doing is not a good idea. It has failed in the past when it parachuted in Ramphele Mamphela.

“The Congress of The People (Cope) also tried it with Bishop Mvume Dandala, but it also failed. These parties must accept that credibility alone is not enough to be a political leader, one also needs political popularity to win the hearts of the voters,” said Ndlovu.

His sentiments were echoed by Nelson Mandela Bay University political lecturer, Dr Ongama Mtimka, who said the DA’s apparent move would not help the MPC, which he described as having no chance at unseating the ANC in the next year’s general elections.

Mtimka said Jardine may be credible, but he lacked political popularity.

He cited the DA’s baggage of the past as a reason why he doubted the MPC would do well in its attempt to unseat the ANC.

The DA’s superiority complex, as well as the party representing the haves against the majority – who were poor, would not assist the MPC, he said.

However, Mtimka commended the DA for co-ordinating the opposition to find common ground.

Weighing in on the Jardine issue, another political analyst, Dr Susan Booysen, said the DA’s reasoning around getting someone to be the face of the MPC could be an admission that the MPC needed someone bigger than all of them combined.

Perhaps it was a realisation that their coalition would not achieve enough of a majority to govern the country, so they needed someone with an extra element, she said.

Although the parties may not agree with the DA’s alleged move, Booysen did not think the parties would allow the Jardine matter to collapse their plan. They would rather take his party as an addition to the coalition than make him the face of the campaign.

The idea was also dismissed by IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa, who said his party was not interested in a sponsored candidate.

He said the issue of the presidential candidate had to be determined by the election results.

“The IFP is not interested in positions, but in bringing in a government that will bring relief to the people of South Africa.

“If you want to be a leader, do so in your own party, you cannot be a candidate of a coalition because each party brings its own ideological identity. Once the coalition has been formed after the elections, then we can discuss leadership,” Hlabisa said.

Jardine, a former chairperson of FirstRand Limited, launched his party on Sunday and named it Change Starts Now.

The DA had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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