OPINION | Mudzuli Rakhivhane: This is why Mmusi Maimane's name will appear again on ballot paper

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Mmusi Maimane will compete in an election on the ballot since he resigned as DA leader in 2019.
Mmusi Maimane will compete in an election on the ballot since he resigned as DA leader in 2019.
Marvin Charles

As it seems Parliament will pass a new law that will make it very difficult for independents and community organisations to stand alone, a new political vehicle will launch this weekend that will appear on the ballot paper in 2024 as an umbrella body, writes Mudzuli Rakhivhane.

The year is 2022 and the very future of our beautiful country hangs in the balance. Our political system is compromised and broken, and citizens are suffering. 

The public education system is setting our children up for a life of poverty. The economy is offering no solution to our record-high unemployment crisis. And the safety of our families and communities is at the mercy of criminals and gangsters.

Life is getting tougher, the lights are often out, and corruption is wrecking our shared future. With wave after wave of bad news, there is little hope for real change for a better tomorrow. Trust in politics to fix the mess and build our country is at an all-time low. 

Tapping out of the system

Each election, fewer and fewer people vote as South Africans tap out of the system that is broken and no longer serves their needs. Voters - especially the youth – have given a clear mandate that the big political parties don't represent them any longer.

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We have a crumbling ruling party plagued with corruption and no credible alternative on the opposition benches. It's a crisis. 

To fix this, we began a journey three years ago by launching a civic organisation with the sole aim of changing South Africa's electoral system. Called the One South Africa Movement (OSA), the organisation advocated for independents and community organisations to run for elections in order to bring power closer to communities and to people. 

It never appeared on the ballot box and was not registered with the IEC. Rather it operated as a non-profit organisation to identify, equip, train, endorse and campaign for independents and community movements.

At the same time, it fought tooth and nail to establish a new, suitable, and empowering electoral system after Parliament was court-ordered to do so in June 2020.

READ | OPINION: Mudzuli Rakhivhane - MPs refusal to engage on Electoral Amendment Bill unconstitutional

It has been a long and often lonely fight through the courts, Parliament, public participation processes, the media, and awareness campaigns – and we remain very proud of this noble work.

However, the process to bring about a new electoral system is being manipulated by the ANC and supporting political parties in Parliament. After all, a brand-new system would weaken their power and give it to communities and to the people.

It has become clear that Parliament will pass a new law that will make it very difficult for independents and community organisations to stand alone and compete in elections and undermine their prospects of success.

We must play with the cards we have, not the cards we'd so hoped to have.

Stand together 

Therefore, for the people to take back power and bring change in the 2024 elections, we need to all stand under one umbrella body to maximise and to aggregate votes at the national and provincial level.

We will, this coming Saturday, launch a new political vehicle which will appear on the ballot paper in 2024 as an umbrella body to unearth and elect homegrown leadership in every community around the country. 

This is the first time Mmusi Maimane will compete in an election on the ballot since he resigned as DA leader in 2019. He will be running under this umbrella and will seek out the best candidates from communities to run for election alongside him.

Finally, OSA will remain an NGO that campaigns for the full-scale overhaul of the electoral system to a constituency-based system whereby independents and political parties contest on fair and equal footing.

We are building a new alternative to realise this country's full potential. We cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. 

Mudzuli Rakhivhane is the Spokesperson for the One South Africa Movement (OSA)

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