Money ‘not a barrier’ to starting a political party

2014-03-05 08:35

Parties don’t need much money to make their voice heard in politics, according to analysts at a debate on the state of opposition politics in South Africa.

Steven Friedman from the Centre for the Study of Democracy told an audience of mainly students at the University of the Witwatersrand last night it was true that you need money to start a party.

“But if you take that to its logical conclusion, it means that poor people can’t organise a party, and if you look at what happens in the world, that’s not true,” he said. “What has to happen at some point is that people start to club together with the meagre resources that they have. That is why trade unions can be very important in this situation, and you generate a certain level of money of your own.”

Power FM presenter Eusebius McKaiser said the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had managed to market themselves well in the media with relatively little money and they had gained “as much traction as the DA”.

He said: “Money is incredibly useful, but I don’t think the absence of money means you can’t find a voice if you’re not effectively mobilised and savvy of how you use the media in particular.”

Julius Malema’s EFF went to court yesterday to seek an interdict against paying the Independent Electoral Commission R600 000 to take part in the elections.

Earlier in last night’s debate, Friedman said it would be difficult to organise a real left wing party in South Africa because such a party should know “how to articulate poverty and inequality for people experiencing racial domination”.

Such a party would be aimed at people who felt excluded, but often because of their feelings of powerlessness, they were difficult to organise into a party.

He said there were no left wing parties at the moment, except for some “fringe” organisations that started after the police shootings in Marikana in 2012.

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