Pray to ward off ‘chaos’

Shake on it: IFP national council member Tobias Gumede and DA premier candidate Christopher Pappas exchange greetings at the Results Operation Centre at the International Convention Centre in Durban yesterday afternoon. | SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

Shake on it: IFP national council member Tobias Gumede and DA premier candidate Christopher Pappas exchange greetings at the Results Operation Centre at the International Convention Centre in Durban yesterday afternoon. | SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 1, 2024


Durban — Cardinal emeritus Wilfred Napier called on the people of South Africa to pray for political parties to find each other to form a coalition government that would prioritise service delivery over self-enrichment.

The former archbishop of Durban, acting bishop of eShowe, joined party representatives at Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC) on Friday afternoon as results of Wednesday’s general elections were being tallied.

He said the available results showed that parties would have to negotiate a coalition.

“The country has to have a president, premiers and ministers and therefore someone will have to sit down realistically and say ‘we have to join forces and we have to be like-minded people moving in the same direction’. Otherwise, we are going to have chaos,” said Napier.

He said the church was prepared to bring parties together for the sake of prosperity in the country.

“To make sure that people understand what the higher values in human lives are” and those values would guide “the actions to be taken, in terms of the laws that are going to be passed and how those laws will be implemented.

“It is our role as the church to encourage people to look at the basic principle that we have to work together if we are going to make a success of life,” said Napier.

At a briefing at 5pm on Friday, IEC KZN electoral officer Ntombifuthi Masinga said the results at that time showed the MK leading the provincial results with about 900 000 votes. The IFP had more than 370 000 counted and confirmed votes, the ANC had 360 299, the DA 263 858 and the EFF just above 44 000. She said the numbers would “definitely change” as 25% of the votes were outstanding, especially from the eThekwini region, which commanded the province’s biggest voting population.

The 25% “would definitely change the vote received by parties because we had 33 parties contesting in our provincial ballot and the results that are in do not include 25% of the vote in the province”, she said.

IFP spokesperson Tobias Gumede said South Africans had approached the elections without proper political education, which is why they voted with their hearts instead of their minds.

At the time he spoke to the Independent on Saturday at the ICC, the newly formed umKhonto weSizwe Party (MK) was leading its rivals in KZN, although it had not yet reached the 50% mark, giving it the power to rule the province without a coalition.

He and his counterparts from other political parties were watching results come in on the big screen.

Gumede said even though the country was 30 years into democracy, people were still not educated about the reason for voting.

“It boils down to a point where you have to say ‘have you gone through manifestos of all parties to understand your needs and how your needs are going to be addressed?’

“Here people became excited when they went to cast their vote, only to find that on the very first day after (some results have been released) they start complaining because they don’t understand the power of their vote,” said Gumede.

Gumede said people voted in big numbers for the MK thinking they were voting for a new party.

“This is not the new party, this is just the duplication of the ANC. This is a change of premises; it is like when you have a company that is going to be liquidated and you feel you are no longer going to cope with paying off the debt and therefore you change the name of the company and the premises.”

He said the responsibility of educating the voters lay with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), political parties, non-governmental organisations and the government.

“My conclusion is that when there are preparations for elections, enough time is not given to empower voters,” he said.

MK Party spokesperson Ndaba Gcwabaza said his party attracted voters because its supporters understood its manifesto.

However, University of the Western Cape political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said MK did not share its manifesto when former president Jacob Zuma addressed a rally at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on May 18, but rather highlighted the context in which the MK was formed.

“He presented the history of the ANC and the history of the MK trying to make people understand how they decided to form the MK.

“Very little was said about the content of the manifesto and on several occasions, (Zuma said) details would follow later. The only thing we know was that if they get the two-thirds majority they are going to change the Constitution and they also focused on land expropriation without compensation,” he said.

Gcwabaza said on Friday that Zuma promised South Africans that should the MK take over the country, it would continue the services he delivered when he was the president between 2009 and 2018.

“His target was that, in terms of the national development plan, by 2030 he would have completed all of that and he did his bit during the nine years when he was in power and there is evidence of all of that,” said Gcwabaza.

He said in KZN, MK “must continue on that and improve on the delivery of that kind of infrastructure so that our people will benefit socially and economically”.

Gcwabaza said the MK had not yet decided on which party it would negotiate a coalition provincial government with if it failed to score more than 50% to govern the province alone.

“We just want to pursue what umKhonto weSizwe wants us to do,” he said.

EFF spokesperson Chuma Wakeni said the MK had mostly attracted loyalists who had abandoned the ANC to follow Zuma.

He said that had the EFF been able to capture KZN, it would have improved nationally.

“But then, we could not and it appears that we are not going to do that because of lots of factors, which we think as time goes on people of KZN are going to be exposed to those factors.

“It is very dangerous to vote through blind loyalism as there is no clear mandate in terms of what is the policy position of the opposition parties,” he said.

However, Wakeni commended MK for reducing ANC support, nationally and provincially.

“That encourages us because when we came to the fore, our objective was to make sure that the ANC in our lifetime lost the state power because it is reporting to Stellenbosch,” said Wakeni.

DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said the DA would only go into coalition with a party with which it could align its principles and policies.

He said the issue of coalition would be discussed and agreed at the national level.

“There is a Fedex (Federal Executive) planned for Sunday, depending on what the situation is in KZN and Gauteng. First and foremost one of our objectives was to remove the ANC from power, which the province has achieved.

“Exactly how the alignment of KZN government would now work, we can determine at the Fedex in communication with our multiparty charter partners,” he said.

Independent on Saturday