New contender in the arena

Third year law student, Zareef Minty, is the national youth president for businessmen Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie’s new political party, the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

The slight looking 20-year-old Minty, who is also a fashion designer said the PA was youth-centred and had a strong focus on giving second chances to the reformed, like two of its own founders.

Second chances and new alliances

“If Nelson Mandela could have that chance to be reformed (sic) coming out of jail and having an opportunity, then we should allow Kunene and Gayton to have the same thing.

“In the same way a student has been charged with something should be allowed to have a future as well,”  said Minty.

“Ex-cons” Gayton McKenzie, president of the PA and general secretary Kenny Kunene, met each other in jail and following their release in 2003, became business partners.

National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

JUGGLING: National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author.                                                                         Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Minty met the two through his clothing line partnership, after Kunene was asked to be an ambassador for Minty’s own fashion label, Self Made Billionaire (SMB). “Kunene liked the idea of an up and coming clothing brand worn by celebrities,” said Minty.

Youth-centric

He said the party also included more young people in its decision-making. He said four of the party’s 12-member national executive committee were under the age of 25.

“We are the only party out there who allows youth to have a platform in the NEC. The ANC and the Democratic Alliance has a separate Youth League so you don’t get young people in parliament,” he said.

Minty is sixth on the PA’s parlimentary list, which means if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.

The party’s focus on the youth and a “practical approach” to politics are what Minty believes will make the PA “a better alternative to the ANC”, which he said was policy heavy with little to no implementation thereof.

[pullquote]”…if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.”[/pullquote]

He believes that PA would be able to relate mostly to the born-frees because it was a party that did not  have any “baggage”.

Campaign trail

The PA’s campaign trail on campus has come with its own set of issues, “Until we have permission to be a club or society on campus we can’t really go out in a group and recruit people. We have been working by going person to person, trying to get them to join,” he said.

The PA, often referred to as the “coloured” or “gangster party”, was founded in Paarl in the Western Cape three months ago and plans to contest in the upcoming elections.

Minty said they have a good chance of having up to six seats in parliament after this year’s elections.

Minty is treasurer of the Wits Law Students’ Counsel and the chairperson of the Student Discipline Committee, which influenced his alignment with the PA and their belief in reforming and empowering the previously charged.

Before the PA, he was part of the ANC Youth League on campus where he took up position as treasurer but the PA presented him with an opportunity for national leadership

Along with the multitude of things Minty has on his plate this year, he plans to publish a motivational book, Empire by March.  Let’s watch this space.

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Youth look for hope in Agang

The young supporters, who came to the launch of Mamphela Ramphele’s new political party, hope she will help them find jobs.

“I have a degree; I’m struggling to get a job. I am hoping that she’ll help me get a job,” said Ndivhuwo Tshaduli, (24).

Agang was launched at the Pretoria show grounds today and attracted thousands of young South Africans clad in white t-shirts.

Another supporter Junior Mofomme said she’s been unemployed since 2005, “I have a tertiary qualification. I can’t get a real job”. Mofomme said she hope Ramphele will bring about change.

[pullquote align=”right”]“The leaders of this current government set an appalling example that others follow”[/pullquote]

In her speech Ramphele told the crowd “20 years is too long to wait for jobs,” and that “this government is destroying our economy and our society.”

“The failure of the education system is robbing young people of their futures and is handicapping the progress of our country”.

Matric student, Martin Mathebula (18) said he will vote for Agang because he wanted an “equal education”.

“Agang means let’s built South Africa, that means equal education.  I am tired of waiting,” said Mathebula

Ramphele said she was inspired by a burning ambition to expect excellence in education: “If we upgrade the education system and get the economy moving we can start to tackle the poverty and despair that are at the heart of our social problems and are the root causes of crime.”

She said that corruption was at the heart of the problems South Africa is facing.

“The leaders of this current government set an appalling example that others follow,” said Ramphele.

“We deserve to have a President who knows that it is wrong to steal money meant for RDP houses to build himself a R206 million palace.”

Unemployed Huitsimang Sethunya (21), said she hoped Ramphele would finish the work the African National Congress (ANC) started but is failing to complete.