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By Editorial staff

Journalist


ANC beatable – but not by Maimane

Maimane needs something spectacular to stand out in the 2024 elections.


Throwing his hat into the ring this weekend for the position of president, Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane said he believes that the ANC can be beaten. But, the question remains: Is he the one to bring this about?

The world has moved on a long way since he was considered the moderate hope who could unite middle-of-the-road black and white people into a democratic, free enterprise movement as a counter-weight to the ANC.

It has moved significantly, too, since he left the Democratic Alliance (DA) under a cloud in 2019.

Blamed by the DA old guard for the reverses in the 2019 election, Maimane didn’t do himself any favours with conservative white DA members after jumping hastily on the bandwagon of alleged racism at a schools in Schweizer-Reneke… allegations which were later ruled unfounded by the SA Human Rights Commission.

His departure was seen by many black people – and potential DA supporters – as evidence that the party did not like “uppity blacks”.

ALSO READ: ‘Time to get in the ring and fight’: Maimane announces he’ll run for president in 2024

Former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba also left the DA but appears to have been more successful than Maimane in charting a new path for himself – with his ActionSA party gathering impetus.

Today, Maimane still makes a lot of sense with his ideas about job creation and training, and his vision for South Africa should appeal to many moderates. But, with more than 500 independent candidates already registered for next year’s election, is Maimane’s voice just another in a political Tower of Babel?

He still has the confidence and charisma he exuded in the DA years… but it seems as though he needs something spectacular to stand out and convince people he is more than an “Uncle Tom”.

Political stunts are, though, not – and never have been – Maimane’s style. He relies on the force of his words and arguments to carry the day.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Maimane lays out Build One SA’s election ambitions for 2024