SARA facing collapse as some small parties withdraw their participation

Former City of Johannesburg speaker and leader of SARA Colleen Makhubele has been accused of using the party for personal interests. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Former City of Johannesburg speaker and leader of SARA Colleen Makhubele has been accused of using the party for personal interests. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 18, 2024


THE South African Rainbow Alliance (SARA) is facing collapse ahead of the national elections after some small parties withdrew their participation from the coalition.

This was after the newly formed African Amalgamated Movement (AARM) and the Independent Citizens Movement (ICM) said they were no longer part of SARA.

Both parties said SARA has never been an alliance and that leader Colleen Makhubele used them to access funding.

They said Makhubele, who is a former Johannesburg speaker and member of Congress of the People (COPE), used the alliance for her interests.

The parties also accused Makhubule of refusing to disclose funds belonging to the alliance.

Questions were sent to Makhubele via WhatsApp on Wednesday and while there was indication she read them she did not respond.

SARA, a voting bloc that includes several small parties, was formed last November.

The parties are the National Freedom Party (NFP), AARM, and ICM, and some churches.

Makhubele was removed from COPE after she aligned herself with the alliance. She subsequently resigned as a speaker of Johannesburg following her dismissal.

However, in less than four months following the announcement, the alliance is now on the brink of collapse after the withdrawal from participation by AARM and ICM.

AARM leader Bishop Marothi Mashashane said his decision came after Makhubele failed to answer his questions during a meeting with the party’s structures.

He said his questions upset Makhubele to the extent that she even called a waiter to pack the ordered food for takeaways and allegedly instructed that Mashashane should not get his plate.

Mashashane said he wanted to know if the structure presented was not a proposal after they were told that it was a final decision. He also questioned how such a decision was made outside the collective.

Mashashane said he also questioned how three members of COPE, including leader Mosiuoa Lekota, became the face of the alliance without being voted on.

He said he was concerned that other parties were consumed in a new COPE under the pretence of the alliance. Mashashane said he also suggested that the presidential candidate should reach certain qualities set by the alliance.

But, he said they were shocked when they saw the placards with the picture of Makhubele a few days after the meeting. He said they were yet to decide on the logo as there were nine proposed emblems.

He said the next meeting was a media briefing where Makhubele gave an update that there was money from the funders, and that R15 million had been spent on placards, T-shirts and other logistics.

Mashashane raised questions about this and it was decided that the meeting to answer questions would be scheduled.

“From there they kept dodging meetings until I threatened to take every question to the media. I also raised concerns in the other meeting and they were again not answered and this led to my withdrawal from SARA.”

He wanted transparency regarding the funds received - from who, how much and why the money was paid into an individual personal account. Mashashane added that he also wanted to know the reason why R15m was spent without informing leadership about it being received. He also wanted to know about the terms of the funding and requested that a bank statement be submitted in support of the answers.

“This again was hot potatoes to swallow, and the relationship became sour between myself and the co-founders, hence I formally withdrew from the SARA which I concluded is no longer an alliance but a new political party of Colleen and chairperson Ofentse Moalusi,” said Mashashane.

ICM leader Dr Joe Mojapelo said he was also withdrawing his participation from the alliance, adding that it was clear that the parties were used. He said Makhubule was playing a smart game by using small parties to improve her curriculum vitae (CV).

“AARM has withdrawn from SARA and ICM is also withdrawing their vote as well,” said Mojapelo.

In a leaked WhatsApp message, Mojapelo said SARA was never an alliance and party partners were used to access funding.

“I lost my job because of SARA, taking into consideration that I have kids to feed. The impact that ICM has brought to the Alliance has gone in vain.”

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