- Mmusi Maimane’s One South Africa Movement and affiliate organisations convened this weekend in Gauteng to consider, deliberate and decide on a number of issues facing independent candidates in the country.
- Part of the resolutions from the meeting were that independent candidates will formally band together and launch an Independent Candidate Association in January 2022.
- Buoyed by the poor voter turnout during the municipal elections, the independent candidates believe South Africans are now ready for independent candidate-led politics.
One South Africa movement leader Mmusi Maimane briefs the media.Supplied
Following a meeting over the weekend, independent candidates from across the country, led by Mmusi Maimane’s One South Africa Movement (OSA), said on Saturday they have drawn up a plan of action and will start canvassing for support in early 2022 in preparation for the national and provincial elections set for 2024.
Part of this strategy will involve banding together and launching an Independent Candidate Association (ICA) in January 2022.
Buoyed by the poor voter turnout during November’s municipal elections, the independent candidates said single party hegemony over South Africa was fast coming to an end, with governments made up of multiple parties and independent candidates, who were more embedded in communities, being the future.
The OSA’s National Activist Council, provincial structures and all affiliate organisations convened this weekend in Gauteng to consider, deliberate and decide on a number of pertinent issues facing independent candidates in the country.
“The council reflected on last month’s historic local government elections, in which the ‘big two’ political parties lost significant ground to independent community organisations and smaller political parties,” read a statement from the collective of independent candidates.
“Specifically, council congratulated all independents and community organisations for a successful and groundbreaking election, in which they collectively won an unprecedented total of 729 760 votes across the country – placing them in fifth position nationally.
“Independents, as a voting bloc, are now larger than political parties COPE, VF+, ACDP, UDM, ATM, PA, GOOD and the NFP. [They] only trail the ANC, DA, EFF and IFP in real numbers, at approximately 3.1% of the national vote.”Coupled with the record low voter turnout, there is now a snowballing consensus that single party hegemony over South Africa is fast coming to an end. The system is broken and self-serving and South Africans are desperate for a new model and a fresh alternative – and this year’s election proved that.
“As the movement that champions direct elections and ground-up democracy, we are encouraged and invigorated by such results.
“Collectively, we are convinced the future of governance in South Africa is independent. More so, that coalitions will be a feature of national government come 2024, and we aim for independents to be at the centre of such a government.”
Motivated by poor voter turnout – which independent candidates described as being reflective of the dissatisfaction among South Africans over party dominated politics and indicative of a possible openness towards shifting to independent candidate-led politics – the grouping of independent candidates agreed to first focus on ensuring the Direct Elections Bill is passed in Parliament.
“[The] OSA’s core campaign focus and programme of action in the first six months of 2022 is to bring about direct elections by mobilising communities to support the Direct Elections Bill in Parliament. We will intensify our efforts to ensure direct elections are in place before the next national elections, as required by the Constitutional Court.
“The bill will make our electoral system more legitimate and representative, and in turn will professionalise and depoliticise government. It will also introduce a constituency-based system for Parliament, with electronic voting and an open list system,” the independent candidates said.
On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will appear before Parliament as it considers this matter in depth.
The independent candidates added OSA chairperson Dr Michael Louis had written to Motsoaledi regarding the passing of the bill and was awaiting a response from the minister.
The grouping of independent candidates also vowed to identify, equip and endorse as many independent candidates as possible to run in the 2024 national and provincial elections; mobilise activists to attract and secure five million votes in 2024; and to hold an ideas conference within the first half of 2022 to decide and adopt OSA’s policies and extend the National Activist Council to incorporate all members of other independent candidates that have also banded together to form their own structure.