Small parties are still relevant in South Africa

WORLD DOMINATION: Small parties of the collective democracy conglomerate, are gearing up for a "radical change" in government that is accountable and transparent.  Photo: Nqobile Dludla

WORLD DOMINATION: Small parties of the Collective Democracy conglomerate, are gearing up for a “radical change” in government that is accountable and transparent, come May 7.  Pictured from left are Mkhuleko Hlengwa (IFP), Forouk Kassim (Cope) and Bantu Holomisa (UDM) Photo: Nqobile Dludla

 

By Anazi Zote and Lameez Omarjee

A ‘quality over quantity’ government was the unanimous call of the three political parties represented at the Great Debate (#witsdebate) held last night on the Wits education campus in Parktown.

Bantu Holomisa, of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and a member of parliament (MP), Farouk Cassim, Congress of the people (COPE), and Mkhuleko Hlengwa of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) participated in the third debate which focused on the viability of small parties as opposition to the African National Congress (ANC) and the larger opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Quality over quantity

“[It is] not about numbers, [but rather] about quality that counts in the politics of a (our) country… Look at the numbers of big parties, they can’t even deal with their corrupt president,” said Holomisa.

In the same voice, defending their party size, Cassim, of the still relatively new COPE party, said: “We may be small in size, but not in vigour and voice. In vigour and voice we are powerful, the country hears us”.

“Whether we get the numbers or not, the IFP is here to serve … the populist agenda, which the main party is relying on, is going to be broken,” added Hlengwa.

Cassim told Wits Vuvuzela, “Mass parties world-wide are going to be extinct, they are going to be of no value because the trend of the future will be smaller parties … acting as conglomerates.”

Ethical governance 

Hlengwa emphasised that opposition parties did not exist simply to oppose but to constructively create progress.  He told Wits Vuvuzela that “if you criticise for the sake of criticising, then there will be no progress”.

All three parties echoed the sentiment of having an accountable and transparent government for the benefit of all South Africans.  “In the past five years, there has been a lack of accountability and responsibility,” said Hlengwa.

[pullquote]“This is no longer a democracy, it is a demo-crazy”[/pullquote]

Holomisa warned South Africans  not to follow the footsteps of a corrupt government because it will collapse. Small parties have a role to play in ensuring that there is no corrupt governance. “If we are quiet and we don’t expose these things, then we will be like other countries in the continent,” said Holomisa.

He also blamed the lack of votes for small parties on the misuse of government resources by the African National Congress (ANC), which relies heavily on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to be its [the ANC’s] mouthpiece.  “

This is no longer a democracy, it is a demo-crazy,” he said. The final installation of the Wits Great Debate happens next week Thursday and speakers are still to be announced.

 

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IFP is no laughing matter, SABC

IPF members march to the SABC stations in Auckland Park in protest of ‘bias and anit-IFP broadcasting’, September 14.

By Jay CabozAround 1500 supporters, mainly from the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP), blocked traffic as they made their way to the South African Broadcasting Station (SABC) in a mass protest for fairness from the public broadcaster.

Mungosuthu Buthelezi, head of the IFP, led the large gathering of supporters through Johannesburg CBD to the entrance of the SABC Studios in Auckland Park on Friday September 14.

The IFP leader noted that this was “a matter which goes to the heart of how the citizens of this country can freely make up their own minds as to whom they wish to govern them”.

“South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda.”

Supporters sported bottles, knobkerries and shields as they made their way along Enoch Sontonga Avenue alongside the University of the Witwatersrand.

One supporter said they were marching to express their outrage that Julius Malema had been banned by the SABC. Another said the media only chose to report their (IFP) actions when they ‘made noise with the ANC’ so they were making some.

Buthelezi addressed the crowd and said that bias within the SABC was not surprising.

“Since 1994, the ANC in Parliament has hand-picked every SABC board member, and the ANC has had the final say in the appointment of all executive officers of the SABC. Thus political interference has been built into the system and ruthlessly exploited by the ANC-alliance.”

“For years, the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster’s radio and television channels. This year, for example, two of the IFP’s three major events – its Freedom Day and Women’s Day rally – did not receive TV coverage at all. This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club.”

A memorandum was handed over to by the IFP outside the SABC station in Auckland Park without incident.