Avishkar Govender
Avishkar Govender

New political party in its first election outing

Okay, so I have decided to make my decision publicly.

Cue the applause and the investigations, I want polite applause for the democratic victory, and I want a thorough, purposeful, unrelenting and invasive investigation that finds and interrogates every individual thing and every possible system that has anything to do with this matter.

There is a block of seats in parliament, that I usually allocate to “the new political party… in its first election outing”, this actually means calculating the number of votes needed for these seats and then allocating these votes to “the new political party… in its first election outing”. That’s not that simple, it literally means getting between half a million and two and a half million voters to vote for a new, untested and unproved party. The objective of this exercise is to create a useful opposition party that is not the official opposition, but is not so small that it is ineffectual.

So in 1994, it was the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which while evolving from an old entity Inkatha YeSizwe, was a new political party in terms of the dispensation that existed in the mid-nineties.

In 1999, it was the United Democratic Movement (UDM) which having been created by Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer, was a new political party in terms of the outlook at the turn of the millennium.

In 2004, it was the Independent Democrats (ID) which having been started by the energetic Patricia de Lille and vowing a philosophy of conservative liberalism, was a new political party in terms of the landscape of the mid-noughties.

In 2009, it was the Congress of the People (COPE) which despite my complaints about their name and the claims that it espoused, that is the suggestion that it represented the four congresses that participated in the historic Congress of the People, was founded by Mosiuoa Lekota and was a new political party in terms of the position of the pre-2010 mindset.

And in 2014, it was the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which was established by the leadership of the African National Congress’ Youth League, that decided to go it alone and leave the African National Congress, and was a new political party in terms of the disposition of the mid-twenty-teens.

The reason that its always a different party, is because the exercise is intended to encourage multi-party democracy and pluralism. If the start-up party was effective in and during their one term opportunity, then they would have garnered their own votes (unrelated to my singular, plural and/or extensible voting activities) to keep going with that sort of size or rather that sort of number of seats. The alternative to this, is that the start-up party would have joined one of the other opposition parties, perhaps even the official opposition party, and have grown their support base in that way.

Alas, I fear that every one of the beneficiaries of this process, has not been able to secure their own votes and have not consolidated their positions; and have all dwindled in size of delegation and number of seats since their one-term opportunity. And now we get to 2019, the election that will settle once and for all, whether the ANC actually has ten million votes of its own or not. Despite the large showing of votes in 2016, the ANC lost control of key metropolitan councils; and this trend seems evidently to continue.

Certainly the electoral proceeds of which I speak will not be given to any of the previous beneficiaries and I have already excluded the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP), of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa or Numsa, from being considered; so this leaves me to choose from among the new parties that are being announced. You will realise that for five years every possible option for “the new political party… in its first election outing” has been contended against every other possible option, that is why it seems like there were other possible options for these electoral proceeds and that other start-up parties were not considered.

Rest assured that I am pedantic when it comes to allocating these electoral proceeds – because of how difficult it is to obtain the vote for a new political party – and I consider every option. I never allocate these electoral proceeds on the basis of corruption, that is I never allocate these electoral proceeds on the basis of what I stand to get out of it. The successful start-up party has to be impress me with its integrity and its determination to distinguish itself as an option, in and by itself, not in terms of other parties.

Do I as a supporter of the Democratic Alliance (DA) want the party that receives these electoral proceeds to join the DA, and consolidate the opposition as South Africa moves closer to a multi-party democracy that has at least two evenly matched parties? Not necessarily. You will note that all of the beneficiaries have been different from the DA, and none have been too far left and/or too far right. The EFF is centre-left not because of its behaviour, but rather because its policies are no further left than “nationalisation” in various guises. Nationalisation is the goal of the EFF, because it solves a problem for the EFF; whereas with most on the left, nationalisation is the starting point along the road to totalitarian dictatorship.

Therefore in the near future I will announce where, and for whom, I will cast these votes (in the singular, plural and/or extensible senses) and I will do so for the first time, publicly, because all too often, the covert nature of things has had this block of votes being divided before being allocated; and worse still had others, who are unrelated to my person and/or my work, sticking their bloody noses in and attempting to corrupt my work and my processes.

I think that the point of this post is to give all possible beneficiaries one last opportunity to impress me with their integrity and their offering, before I make my decision publicly.

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