Mmusi Maimane: Local government's future is not in political parties

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Mmusi Maimane.
Mmusi Maimane.
Elizabeth Sejake
  • One South Africa's Mmusi Maimane believes political parties have failed people. 
  • He wants independents and residents' associations to run during the local government elections. 
  • Maimane is targeting the support of 15 to 20 municipalities. 

One South Africa movement leader Mmusi Maimane is hoping to get "key influencers and community leaders" to form residents' steering committees to take part in the local government elections.

The former DA leader said he believed the future of government was outside of party politics, after the infighting in both his old party and the governing ANC in the past few weeks.

READ | IEC is 'ready' as Ramaphosa announces election date

"South Africa's political system is broken, self-serving and in critical need of change," Maimane added on Thursday morning.

He said:

In particular, the state of local government is at crisis level, as towns across the country are bankrupt and unable to deliver constitutionally guaranteed basic services. We cannot continue to stumble along the same path, expecting political parties to fix a cartel-like system that only they benefit from.

Maimane told News24 Section 159(a) of the Electoral Commission Act "allows for local structures to gain control of municipalities" by registering to participate in local government elections without being a registered political party.

In this way, he added, independents could stand for elections in wards as well as registering "as a conglomerate of independent candidates" to gain the benefit of the proportional representation system.

READ | Voter registration weekend on 17 and 18 July - IEC

Local government elections allow for the election of ward candidates, but it also allocates council seats to parties on the basis of the proportion of votes they get.

Maimane said residents' steering committees would call a meeting with business chambers, farmers' unions, ratepayers' associations and faith-based organisations to form an association that would register to contest the elections.

These associations would then nominate "the top community and ward leaders" to stand as ward and proportional representation candidates, in consultation with the community, he added.

Maimane said his movement would then support these candidates and associations with their campaigns.

He added his model had "no caucus process, no 'party line' and no disciplinary procedures that will be imposed on candidates", and this meant the candidates remained accountable to the community.

Maimane would not reveal which municipalities One South Africa was targeting, but said initially it would work with about 15 to 20, mostly smaller, peri-urban local governments where there were fewer wards and where municipalities could be turned around more easily.

He mentioned Emfuleni as an example of a municipality where this model could make a difference.

Interest

Maimane did, however, let slip that there was interest in it from within the Tshwane Metro as well.

He said the associations would have recall mechanisms in the same way the Health Practitioners' Council had, where doctors found to have been involved in malpractice could be removed from it.

Maimane added the funding for the campaigns of these independent candidates would comply with the Political Party Funding Act, which came into operation on April 1, despite the reporting and administration associated with it.

He said One South Africa had done some research and found there were certain municipalities where independent candidates have been doing well, and even acted as kingmakers.

Maimane previously indicated he would not be registering his movement as a political party. 

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