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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

‘Historic’ moonshot pact: 7 parties forge new path to challenge ANC

Seven political parties unite to challenge ANC's dominance, launching a multiparty coalition pact for a new path forward.

Seven political parties presented a united front yesterday in a campaign to unseat the ANC at the launch of the multiparty convention to deliberate on the moonshot pact.

Stressing that the convention of the multiparty opposition coalition pact was “not the end”, independent chair, Prof William Gumede, told journalists his mandate included engaging “other opposition parties who are not part of the core group, but sharing the same set of values and principles”.

He said: “This is not only a conversation to happen here, but something ongoing.

“The idea is to get a joint position in relation to the national dialogue on coalition government – the group’s thinking and good ideas around that.”

The importance of adopting governing principles of the coalition were crucial, he added.

Coalitions fail at local level because parties do not have a set of governing principles. Ultimately, it would be good to look at what would be the common ground for solutions in South Africa.

“At the end, we should have a public agreement to be transparently shared with the public and for parties to make pledges to that agreement – holding them accountable.

“It would be pointless sitting in this convention for two days agreeing, but not being accountable. There should be an accounting mechanism.

“This is the beginning of a historic moment for us in South Africa – the first time a coalition pact is negotiated prior to an election,” said Gumede.

“It is a moment to reimagine South Africa and retell our story in a much more positive narrative and helpful way.

“In a country’s and an individual’s life, there is a moment of decision-making which could alter the path.

“Taking a courageous step to rise above the past in order to move forward – a moment to make a couple of decisive decisions to alter the trajectory of South Africa for the better, is key.

“It is important that we rise individually and collectively, above petty squabbles and egos.” Any decisions made should be “in the public interest of South Africa”, he said.

In his address to the convention, DA federal leader John Steenhuisen said the two-day convention ending today after the adoption of resolutions was “not about politics and politicians, but about the people of South Africa”.

“The outcomes of the next two days of discussions need to be judged on concrete solutions to improve the lives of South African people if they speak to the unemployed, the mother sitting around a kitchen table and wondering how to feed her family; to business owners and people who have lost their jobs due to load shedding,” said Steenhuisen.

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said: “Today we meet in this historic venue to press a reset button for our country.

“South Africa is on the verge of becoming a failed state.

“The IFP is here today in this national convention because we believe there is still hope for our country and for its people.

“However, if you want things in our country to change, we cannot continue to walk the same path we have been walking. “If you want to change, we will have to do things differently,” said Hlabisa.

“This convention is about South Africa and its people – not an anti-ruling party club. “We do not hate the ANC, but hate what the ANC has done in South Africa.”

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said: “It is not rare in any history of a people and nation that at one or other stage, a nation approaches a crossroads.

“There are many crossroads – in the history of South Africa, we’ve had many crossroads. “Our next historical moment is 2024, which will not be the first or the last one.”

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba said: “As we gather here right now, outside of this room 44% of South Africans are unemployed, 82 people are being murdered daily, a woman is raped every 30 seconds and continuous load shedding is crippling business, destroying livelihoods and jobs.”