'Mandela would not be part of ANC if he was alive today' - Neil de Beer joins forces with Maimane

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OSA leader Mmusi Maimane at the Cape Town Press Club in February.
OSA leader Mmusi Maimane at the Cape Town Press Club in February.
PHOTO: Jan Gerber/News24
  • Neil de Beer has left the ANC to form the UIM.
  • The UIM will join forces with Mmusi Maimane's OSA to educate South Africans about direct elections.
  • De Beer said Nelson Mandela would not be a member of the ANC today.

Mmusi Maimane's One South Africa Movement (OSA) will join forces with the newly established organisation of former ANC member Neil de Beer to educate the public about direct elections.

On Thursday morning, De Beer announced that he had resigned from the ANC after more than 30 years with the party, to form the United Independent Movement (UIM), according to a statement from OSA.

"Mr De Beer is currently President of Invest Fund Africa and has served in various roles in the ANC and in government. A former ANC National Security Advisor to Nelson Mandela and Umkhonto we Sizwe intelligence agent, Neil was most recently Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. Much of his story is detailed in the bestselling book Undercover with Mandela's Spies," the statement reads.

In addition to his political journey, he has also left his mark in the business sector.

He has served as chairperson of Afgem and CEO of Debcor and DiamondCorp. He is the founding president of the Africa-based Monetary Fund and the first secretary-general of the Office of African Business Development (OABD).

The statement read: 

"Today, Neil has decided unequivocally that, after 32 years in the ANC, it is no longer recognisable to him and has passed the point of no return. Having lost faith in the party-political system, he is, with immediate effect, officially ending his membership of the ANC."

"Former president Nelson Mandela would not be part of the ANC if he was still alive today," De Beer said, according to the statement.

'Symbiotic working partnership'

De Beer has created the UIM – a civil society movement with a vision to educate South Africans about their power and fundamental rights to uplift their communities and elect independent candidates to public office.

This was made possible following the Constitutional Court judgment in June this year, which ordered Parliament to change SA's electoral laws to allow for independent individuals to stand for election.

UIM's core team consists of De Beer as founder and leader, Daniel "Boland" Smith, businessman, entrepreneur and chief strategist, Shayne Ayford, community strategist, Mike Massyn, brand and PR strategist, and Warren Schwulst, head of communications.

"OSA welcomes the decision by Mr De Beer not only to leave the ANC and form the UIM, but to commit to a symbiotic working partnership between OSA and UIM to educate citizens about direct elections and to recruit community activists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, school teachers, entrepreneurs, miners, factory workers, IT wizards, academics, environmentalists, business people and governance specialists to stand for election as independents," reads OSA's statement.

"We believe this will bring about a new model of direct, accountable governance in South Africa and put an end to political party dominance."

The statement continued: 

This strengthens accountability, brings decision-making closer to the people, and ensures the best, fit-for-purpose individuals represent us in Parliament.

While the bill amending legislation to allow direct elections are currently before Parliament, OSA said it will ramp up their public education campaigns on direct elections in the coming weeks, speaking to constituencies in every province in South Africa.

 - Compiled by Jan Gerber

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