1 job per home, better healthcare, going digital – Mmusi on how he plans to get keys to Mahlamba Ndlopfu

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Mmusi Maimane launched a new political party named BOSA
Mmusi Maimane launched a new political party named BOSA

He's a big, big dreamer.

But optimism is what South Africa needs in these dark times.

The manifesto of Mmusi Maimane's new party includes ending high unemployment levels by ensuring every South African household has at least one person with a job; using tech to make the running of government smoother – with less queues and bureaucracy; delivering the best primary healthcare facilities, and running an overall far more effective government.

It may seem like blue-sky thinking, but the leader of newly launched Building One South Africa (Bosa) says he's seen enough of how the government runs and what the people want to be able to deliver on what he's promising.

“A political party is only a vehicle to get to that vision, but the vision itself must be one where others can’t be throwing away food while others are hungry. So our vision is a truly prospered nation that works," says the former DA leader.

"Fair enough, political parties will come and go. But what is fair to say is that we truly believe that democracy can only be rescued when it is given back to the people.

"All citizens want the same things, they want to know they have a job, they want to know they are safe, their kids can be educated and when they get sick there is a hospital, they can go to that will give them help.”

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Maimane says he took his time before launching Bosa because he didn’t want to form another DA or ANC but wanted to know what the citizens of the country wanted first.

“When I left parliament, I knew that when I start a party one day it won’t be another branch of the DA. I wanted to build from scratch," the politician tells Drum.

Since severing ties with the Democratic Alliance, he's been "going into different communities, identifying powerful leaders", he says.

"We formed a cohort of people. I don’t want to build a pseudo DA, I want to build a mixed South African party."

"We did that by gathering skilful people in different sectors such as farmers, business people and lawyers. Our chairman used to be in the ANC, our deputy leader is a businesswoman and our national spokesperson was an advocate of the high court.”

Building One South Africa (Bosa) was launched recently on Heritage Day in Naledi, Soweto, where its leader spoke about the need to tackle unemployment and fast-track the digitalisation of Home Affairs, clinics and licensing departments – services that frustrate citizens with dizzyingly long queues and harried, overwhelmed employees.

“Being in government is about capabilities and efficiency and I want to be able to build a country where even government services are digital. Government fails because it is ineffective, it doesn’t know what it needs to know, and it has all of our data. Technology is allowing us with the use of big data to be able to govern.”

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Bosa is targeting youth between the ages of 18-35 but doesn’t exclude anyone older than that, says Maimane.

"The issues we are fighting for – education and jobs – affect that (18-35) group the most."

This is also a party for all races, he adds.

“Anyone who wants to racially divide this country is not our audience. Someone who says they are for black people against white people or is for white people against black people is not our audience.

"Colour matters. If you don’t see that I am black, you don’t see me. But being colour-conscious does not make me racist. It means there is a history that took Maimane to Soweto and made sure his parents don’t go to school and now he must pay black tax.

"I am married to a white South African and I can see how they grew with certain advantages. But today they are equal citizens in our country, and they must contribute to our country.”

He says his strategy for the elections is to speak to those South African who are not voting.

Here is how the Bosa leader says he wants institutions to operate with his vision to make SA  a more digitally savvy state:

Voting: Citizens can vote electronically.

Communication: We are now able to interact with citizens electronically, it must come to a point where we have a customer first government that is able to go.

Clinics: Why should someone go to the clinic and still must carry a card when we can opt for the usage of fingerprints analysis and know what kind of medication they need and deliver them before they come to the clinics?

Schools: We can  assist with the placement of kids to school looking at the data.

Corruption: We can eradicate corruption by using world-class technology and we can be competent.

“We are putting together a digital infrastructure that will allows us to communicate with the people so that there is no barrier," Maimane says.

"At many levels, we all must ensure that we have a shared vision. why the country doesn’t work is because the hopes of the one, are the fears of another.

"We need to have shared hopes and visions born out of a common identity that answers what it means to be a South African.” 

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