'Darlings! You must register,' says Tannie Evita

2008-10-17 00:00

Cape Town — Look out, South Africa! The grande dame of political commentary, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, is to give the country’s political parties a run for their money by forming her own political party.

With great fanfare and large plates of koeksusters, Evita formed the Evita’s People’s Party (EPP) here yesterday.

The former South African ambassador to the independent homeland of Bapetikosweti, who is also known as “the most famous white woman in South Africa”, said her focus will be on voter registration.

Evita said she intends “standing on her back stoep and keeping an eye on Tshwane”. With the Independent Electoral Commission in attendance with registration papers, she said the EPP is not about politics.

“Evita’s People’s Party will be the Jack Russell terrier at the gates of our democracy to bark loudly when our Constitution is threatened or insulted, to howl when our Constitutional rights are demeaned. From now on, the EPP is a farce to be reckoned with,” said Evita.

In attendance at the launch were Evita supporters, Cape Town mayor and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille, Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille and Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown.

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who could not make the event, sent a Tutu doll to represent him. At least Tutu has somebody to vote for now,” she joked.

Recalling former president Thabo Mbeki’s famous speech at his inauguration, Evita introduced her party with the words: “My name is Evita Bezuidenhout and I am an African. I think we have had too many parties in the last 14 years. We must now stop having parties.”

Evita said she has no aspirations to become president of South Africa, but aims to get as many South Africans as possible to vote — even if she has to use a vuvuzela to wake people up to cast their ballot.

She said her party is not about politics, but about elections. She believes it is time to stop talking about “war and killing and replacements”. “It is time to look beyond the political roundabout and see who really matters. The people matter. Their opinion matters. Their vote matters. Without them we have no democracy.”

On a serious note, Zille said South Africans should take Evita’s message to heart.

“Get out there and vote. Read the manifestoes of the parties. We are what you’ve got,” Zille said.

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