Cape Town - Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane is hoping to convince South Africans to vote for his newly registered party and secure a spot in a would be multi-party coalition in 2024.
Under this party-whose identity will be revealed today (Saturday)- Maimane will vie for the highest office in the land when he runs for president.
Maimane is set to launch the new party today in Soweto after a three year hiatus from active politics.
He resigned from the DA in 2019 after serving as the party’s leader for four years.
Since then he has immersed himself in growing the One South Africa movement, a community driven activist movement that seeks to bring about change.
The movement also supported independent candidates’ run for office in the 2021 local government elections.
Speaking to Weekend Argus this week. Maimane said the party would be separate from the OneSA movement, and would position itself to attract the millions South Africans –mostly youth- who have no political home.
Maimane said the new party would also aim to ensure young people see themselves in leadership positions.
“We have been overwhelmed by South Africans who have been calling on us to finally do this because they feel they don’t have an alternative,” Maimane said.
In the past, Maimane has spoken about the number of parties diluting the political space and even went as far as saying there were enough political parties in existence.
“I still hold that view, that there are enough political parties but the Electoral Amendment Bill has made it absolutely impossible for independent candidates to contest the election, it does not uphold accountability especially since it relies on provinces as constituencies,” Maimane said.
The bill was the culmination of a Constitutional Court order in June 2020, which found that the Electoral Act was unlawful and unconstitutional as it barred independent candidates from contesting for seats in parliament.
In its current state the bill would see the 400 parliamentary seats split in half, with 200 contested on a constituency basis and the other 200 under proportional representation.
The national elections in 2021 saw a whopping 325 political parties contest the elections.
The 2024 polls could see more parties join the fray, but analysts have predicted that a coalition government is on the cards for South Africa if the ANC dips below the 50% mark.
Maimane who has experience leading a party that had been engaged in several coalitions, said they, “cannot all be painted with the same brush”.
“There are key lessons to take from past experiences including parliamentary and electoral reform. After an election where there is no outright winner, political parties are given 14 days to negotiate and form a government, and I believe that is not enough,” Maimane said.
The move to launch a new political party received mixed reactions from analysts who warned that Maimane may have launched his party a bit too late.
Political analyst Lukhanyo Vangqa said Maimane could face a public relations nightmare as he clarifies the difference between the new political party and OneSA movement.
“Maimane starting with about 20 months until the elections, could harm his political ambitions in terms of the time it’s going to take to build up structures and a brand. Adding to this is the confusion and the time that he is going to spend clarifying the difference between the OneSA movement and what it stands for, and this political party,” Vangqa said.
Another analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said Maimane had done himself a disservice by not partnering with the likes of ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba.
Seepe predicted that the new party would not win a single seat in 2024.
“The strength of smaller parties is in unity but they don’t seem to realise that the mushrooming of more parties is doing a disservice to black people when the smaller parties could join forces and become a single bloc,” Seepe said.