Carl Niehaus plans to gang up on ANC with other parties ahead of 2024 elections

A file picture of Carl Niehaus during a protest. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of Carl Niehaus during a protest. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 25, 2023


Pretoria - Former staunch ANC member and spokesperson Carl Niehaus has vowed to team up with opposition parties to dethrone the ruling party ahead of next year’s elections.

Niehaus, an ally of former president Jacob Zuma, registered the African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (Areta) as a political party at the weekend.

The party had initially been formed as a non-profit organisation, after Niehaus was served with a suspension notice from the ANC following accusations of bringing the party into disrepute.

Niehaus and Areta national secretary Nkosentsha Shezi went to Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) headquarters in Centurion at the weekend to register the party in accordance with the provisions of section 16(1)(a) of the Electoral Commissions Act of 1996.

The ANC accused Niehaus of making public statements and social media posts which it said were “unbecoming of someone in this high office”.

Niehaus later resigned from the party to avoid being expelled.

Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Niehaus said after consulting with party members he had decided to register Areta as a political party that would, with other left progressive political parties, challenge the ANC in the next general elections.

This paves the way for a possible coalition government.

“Critical to get rid of the ANC is to forge a broad left, progressive alliance of left political parties,” Niehaus said.

He said that he was engaging parties such as the EFF, ATM, PAC, the UDM and others in order to forge a progressive alliance of the left “based on a minimum programme of action to implement radical economic transformation”.

He said there were already deep discussions with these parties, which had advised Areta to team up with them against the ANC.

“In fact, all the left political parties we engaged with encouraged Areta to register as a political party. Consequently, it became clear that we will only be able to fulfil the tasks that we set for ourselves (the most important of which is to forge unity) and participate – as an equal among equals – with the other left progressive parties,” Niehaus said.

He did not mince his words when he was asked if they would be participating in the 2024 elections.

“Most definitely! Obviously, since we are registering as a national political party we will participate in elections at all levels, national, provincial and local,” he said.

However, he could not confirm if he would be the one steering the party, to run for president.

“The decision about who will be Areta’s presidential candidate is not mine alone.

“It will be a collective, broadly consultative decision. My role as president of Areta will be to lead that process,” he said.

He further said the party had deliberately steered away from big-name politics.

“We believe that leaders must adhere to the acronym CIC … and for Areta that does not stand for commander-in-chief, it stands for competence, integrity and commitment.

“Areta believes that leadership must be defined by sacrifice and servanthood.

“There is no such thing as an elite or ordained leadership.

“Leaders are not born, they are shaped by their commitment, hard work and experience, and the trust of their communities in them.

“One of the most important tasks that Areta has given ourselves is to see new, young leaders from our communities emerging, as well as also recognising older, committed leaders that have been discarded by the arrogant ANC, because they have stood up against the cheque-book politics, and selling out of the ANC.”

Pretoria News