Helen Suzman Foundation director set to join Roger Jardine’s political formation

Former banker Roger Jardine is set to launch a political formation ahead of the 2024 general elections. Picture: Leon Nicholas

Former banker Roger Jardine is set to launch a political formation ahead of the 2024 general elections. Picture: Leon Nicholas

Published Dec 8, 2023


The executive director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Nicole Fritz, is set to join former banker Roger Jardine’s political party after resigning from the foundation.

Jardine, a former banker, is set to contest the 2024 general elections. He resigned as chairperson of First Rand in November.

Kalim Rajab, the chairperson of the Helen Suzman Foundation, said Fritz would be pursuing a political role from January.

Fritz joins the likes of Jardine, who is also a former political activist with links to the United Democratic Front. Activist Mark Heywood, an activist who founded human rights group Section 27 before joining the Maverick Citizen, is set to join the new political formation which is set to be unveiled in Joburg at the weekend.

Jardine, who is a former chairperson at First Rand Group, having stepped down in November, had been touted as a potential presidential candidate for the Multi-Party Charter, which consists of political parties such as the Democratic Alliance, ActionSA, Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus and others, after a report on Sunday that he had met with DA leader John Steenhuisen.

However, the plan did not take off after it was quickly crushed by other parties in the Charter.

In a joint statement from all eight parties in the Multi-Party Charter, they said “every party in the Multi-Party Charter has the autonomous right to engage with, and make decisions about their relationship with different individuals and organisations”.

“Notwithstanding this fact, the Multi-Party Charter For South Africa would like to point out that there have been no discussions relating to a joint presidential candidate for the Charter.

“The Charter agreement recognises the individual identity of each party and the imperative for each party to grow its individual electoral support with a view to advancing the prospects of a collective majority for the Charter.

“It is understood that this requires each party to advance its own offer to the South African people within the context of the agreement,” they said.

Rajab said Fritz had expressed a wish to contribute in South African politics.

“At this critical time in our democracy, we appreciate Nicole’s wish to contribute to South African politics. At the same time, a fundamental feature of the HSF is that we are a non-party political organisation.

“We hold ourselves and our office-bearers to this standard so that we can defend the Constitution without fear or favour,” said Rajab.

He said Fritz’s leadership was characterised by deep engagement with society through advocacy, community interventions and public dialogue.

“We are especially proud of the work done under her leadership to safeguard the rights of vulnerable persons.

“At a time of a virulent, opportunistic narrative that it is the Constitution and the rule of law which impede socio-economic progress in South Africa, we believe that our voice, like others in civil society, should be used to demonstrate the opposite: that the principles and values at the heart of the rule of law are essentially the same as those required to realise social justice.

“That is what we sought to do under Nicole’s leadership, and it is what we will continue to fight for,” he said.

Fritz told News24 she believed Jardine had a compelling message for South Africans and spoke highly of his track record in business and government.

The Helen Suzman foundation will be led by Naseema Fakir as acting executive director in the interim.

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