Durban - The moonshot pact national convention is expected to take place this month, with parties yet to reach consensus on how to put together the broadest possible coalition to unseat the ANC.
While the pact will be negotiated at the convention, parties have discussed including the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), led by former ANC and Greytown mayor Philani Mavundla, in the agreement.
The ABC has two seats in the eThekwini Metro and Mavundla had previously worked with the ANC and was the deputy mayor, but was later removed and replaced by Zandile Myeni of the National Freedom Party (NFP).
The incorporation of the ABC into the pact, especially after the party formally ended its coalition pact with the IFP in April, will reveal if parties can ignore what has happened in coalitions in municipalities.
DA federal leader John Steenhuisen, after his re-election this year, mooted the idea of the pre-election “moonshot pact” with like-minded political parties, civil society organisations and civic movements to defeat a possible ANC/EFF coalition.
The pact’s purpose was to create a coalition of minority parties and to not just drop the ANC to below 50% at the next election, but to have a combined majority to replace the governing party.
So far the pact includes the IFP, ActionSA, NFP, Freedom Front Plus, United Independent Movement and Build One South Africa movement (Bosa). There are also discussions on whether parties that are in coalitions with the ANC, such as the Patriotic Alliance, should be invited to join the pact.
ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said inviting parties such as the ABC to join the pact meant parties had to ignore the baggage from local government tensions and focus on the coalitions at a national level.
“The DA has advocated that parties that join the pact have certain values and we have said that the baggage from local government relationships must not be carried to the national discussions.”
Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane said the focus needed to be on what the pact’s vision was for all South Africans.
“We need to discuss the plan and the vision, and if there are those who do not agree with that vision then they do not have to be part of the pact. We cannot exclude parties before we discuss this as there may be affiliates of the ANC who support the vision.”
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said parties participating in the moonshot pact agreed that no information would be shared until the first official meeting of the national convention.
Mavundla did not respond to requests for comment.
Political analyst Dr Fikile Vilakazi of UKZN said the moonshot pact was not fundamentally impactful.
“The pact between the ANC and EFF will be strengthened before next year’s elections and we will see this become a factor in many municipalities. For the DA pact, the IFP is very much a provincial party and ABC does not have the sort of numbers needed to unseat the ANC.” Vilakazi said the ANC and EFF coalition would work against DA efforts.
In April, Steenhuisen said that various party leaders had made helpful and constructive suggestions to ensure the success of the negotiations.
“I draw inspiration from the knowledge that these leaders share the dream of a strong and cohesive pact to deliver our country from the threat of an ANC-EFF doomsday.”