Magashule may not have an ace in this fray

Ace Magashule says the Free State province is in the bag. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Ace Magashule says the Free State province is in the bag. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 31, 2023


Johannesburg - While there was a bit of excitement in Orlando West’s Vilakazi Street after former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule unveiled his new political party yesterday, political commentators have questioned the expansion of the country’s overpopulated political party landscape.

Launched under the African Congress for Transformation (ACT) banner, Magashule’s newest political chapter looks set to add more numbers to an already overly subscribed political space, which has seen more than five political parties launch this year alone.

After the unveiling of the party logo and T-shirts, singing and dancing erupted on Vilakazi Street, with members of the party screaming: “The ANC is dead. We want Ace.”

Speaking to The Star, political analyst Dr John Molepo said Magashule should have chosen to work with other like-minded political parties, such as the EFF and the African Radical Transportation Movement, instead of launching a new political party.

Two months ago, there were reports he might work with the EFF. However, Magashule said that after having consulted widely with former ANC leaders such as Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, Julius Malema, and others, he had come to the decision of establishing a caring and pan-Africanist political home for those who want to see change that has not been championed by the current ANC leadership under Cyril Ramaphosa.

“I think Magashule is adding to those numbers of those who wish to lead South Africa. This is going to be unpractical and unrealistic, as the country lacks a strong opposition party. The expansion of other political parties does not make any difference in the political landscape of this country,” Dr Molapo said.

Nelson Mandela University Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Bheki Mngomezulu, said: “If I were to advise Magashule, he would not have formed his party. A party formed out of anger is most likely not going to survive the political milestone.”

Leader of Black First, Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, however, has welcomed Magashule back into the political fold, saying this was a good move in ensuring radical economic transformation was achieved after the ANC sold out on its Nasrec resolutions, which have been neglected by the ANC following Ramaphosa’s ascension to power in 2018.

According to Betty Nzapheza, who travelled from the Free State to be with her leader, the party under Magashule will prioritise the poor and those who are suffering under the current climate.

She said Magashule has proven to everyone that he is a caring leader.

During a Q&A session with the media, Magashule said through this party, he hoped to continue on his mission of inspiring change that has been missing since the ANC infiltrated those who have betrayed its founding values. He said the ACT would be the party of the people, not of leaders. | Additional reporting by Steven Makhanya

The Star