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By Citizen Reporter


Coalition government the answer to deposing the ANC

Opposition politics: ActionSA and DA should team up for the win

Efforts by many opposition parties to sabotage fellow opposition parties suggest that they care more about winning the title of second place than they do about unseating the ANC.

This race for mediocrity must not continue. The goal of opposition politics is fundamentally to achieve a better state for South Africa than what existed before. The main way to achieve this is to depose the ANC.

No single opposition party is going to be able to pull this off. There is far too much political diversity, disagreement and alienation for a single party to take the lion’s share of the vote, unless that party is the ANC.

Opposition parties must work together, present a united front to form a coalition government come the next election. Any opposition party which sinks most of its energy into attacking fellow opposition parties serves to reinforce the ANC’s position as No.1 far more than it does to serve the goal of helping South Africa improve.

ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba’s hit piece in the Sunday Times (19 June, 2022) attacked the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Helen Zille for a tweet in which she said she would no longer consider working together with a hypothetical moderate splinter of the ANC.

Mashaba’s concerns could have been raised at a meeting, rather than in an unnecessary and immature hit piece that accomplished nothing other than dividing the opposition.

This is not the first time ActionSA has focused its attention on opposing the DA, its coalition partner in many municipalities, rather than focusing on the big prize of replacing the ANC.

The appointment of the Joburg city manager has been rife with behind-the-scenes deals which put the city in jeopardy, ostensibly because ActionSA would rather cut deals with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) than the DA. This is despite the EFF being openly communist and ActionSA dedicating itself to fighting against communism.

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Neither is the DA innocent. It has also dedicated its own energy and resources on SMS campaigns against ActionSA. This only serves to build resentment, squander goodwill and lead to infighting in what should be a united coalition against the ANC.

Meanwhile, voters shift between parties, or become apathetic and don’t vote at all.

None of this conflict serves to weaken the ANC. If anything, it strengthens it.

Criticism is important. And opposition parties are separate parties for a reason. They don’t agree on everything, but what they should agree on, and do, is that the ANC needs to go.

There are essential core values that need to be upheld and implemented. On paper, ActionSA and the DA have far more in common than not. They are both ostensibly free market-supporting parties with a focus on ending corruption.

No wonder so many DA officials have crossed over to ActionSA. They are essentially the same party but with different approaches and one policy disagreement. They are natural coalition partners.

Mashaba, as a DA exile, can seemingly not let go of his vendetta against the DA. And South African voters suffer for it. While Mashaba claims the DA may get into bed with the ANC, ActionSA’s campaign strategy seems dead set on replacing the DA as official opposition.

They are content with second place. Why? Who does this serve other than the petty politics of a few vindictive politicians? Most of all, who does it serve other than reinforcing the position of the ANC as the ruling party?

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SA needs the opposition parties to unseat the ANC and take first place. This is possible. But only if opposition parties with essential similarities band together and work as a united movement to unseat the ruling party. This means cutting down infighting, working with each other and presenting a united front to voters who want stability and an alternative to ANC corruption, incompetence and chaos.

No party can appeal to all voters. Try to please everyone and you will alienate everyone. Instead, opposition parties should focus on what they’re good at and secure the constituencies they can best serve without estranging or sabotaging their coalition partners.

Trying to win second doesn’t help South Africans. And an obsession with becoming the best opposition doesn’t save South Africa. What this country needs is a coalition of reasonable parties working towards a brighter future.

  • Woode-Smith is a political analyst, economic historian and author

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