ActionSA has taken the step of writing to the leaders of several opposition parties in our country, to initiate a multi-party engagement platform. The purpose of this engagement is to build the common ground to respond more effectively to the crisis created by government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the approval of ActionSA’s Senate, I have formally written to the leaders of the ACDP, COPE, DA, IFP, UDM, VF+ as well as Mmusi Maimane’s OSA.
We have deliberately excluded the EFF which we deem to be a threat to our hard-won constitutional democracy and a party that openly champions the collapse of the South African economy.
It is indisputable that our government has created a crisis in its recent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have emerged into 2021 to a situation where South Africans are dying because inadequate preparations were made during a 7-month lockdown to prepare our hospitals. We are learning that our government has exposed our citizens to a 3rd and possibly 4th wave because of delays in procuring the vaccine.
In the absence of any plans being communicated about a vaccine rollout plan, we are left to imagine what disasters will emerge from this silence.
Up until now opposition political parties have expressed themselves individually in response to government’s mismanagement of the pandemic that has clearly emerged in 2021.
I have spoken directly with a number of these political leaders who have affirmed their belief that establishing this platform will be critical. We have also discussed that our immediate focus is a combined effort to respond to our most immediate crisis. Having said this, our current crisis is borne of the continued failed governance of the ANC, a problem that can only be resolved by their removal from office during elections.
One belief we have in common is that South Africa will never emerge from the severe repercussions of COVID-19, including the crisis of unemployment, as long as the ANC is in power. 2024 must see the removal of the ANC from a number of provinces and from national government, and from a number of municipalities in 2021.
Establishing a platform with these political parties is long overdue. I have apologised to these leaders about this idea emerging from a relatively new political party, expressing my view that this must be a jointly owned initiative and not one belonging to ActionSA. It was reassured that there is no intention to dilute the independence or identity of any parties, but rather to build a platform for mutual collaboration where each party is respected as partners.
It was similarly conveyed that while a legislative platform may exist in parliament and undoubtedly to great effect, what we propose goes beyond the reach of parliament to the communities where South Africans are suffering.
On too many occasions in the past opposition parties have fought amongst themselves for an ever-declining pool of active voters, while 18.3 million South Africans of voting age have given up on voting due to the lack of a credible threat to the ANC. The enemy is not other opposition parties, rather, the enemy is the ongoing destruction of our country by the ANC.
This initiative is borne of the 9-month long People’s Dialogue public engagement process that solicited the views of millions of South Africans. The feedback we received from ordinary South Africans was unambiguous, they are not interested in the narrow-minded, self-interested behaviour that governs party politics, but rather parties who put people first.
South Africans want us to work together to unseat the ANC. South Africans want opposition parties working together and aspire to more than their share of the declining opposition benches.
ActionSA has initiated this proposal and communicated openly about it in good faith and with the utmost humility, because this proposal and every step going forward needs to be made in the full view of all South Africans, because this is being proposed and pursued on their behalf.
How parties respond to this call is their own prerogative, but ActionSA will engage with any party who sees the big picture – a prosperous South Africa with the ANC in opposition.