Eric Naki
Political Editor
2 minute read
22 Nov 2021
8:45 am

Makana Citizen’s Forum: The little political party that could

Eric Naki

Makana Citizens Forum believes that their strength lies in the non-racial make-up of the rainbow nation candidate list.

A voter places his ballot in the box at the Union Building voting station on 1 November 2021, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The Makana Citizens Forum (MCF), only established and launched on 16 June at Soccer City stadium in the Settler City, had done the unthinkable, replacing the Democratic Alliance (DA) from the second most influential position in the local council and becoming the official opposition.

This small political party in a small town is making waves as a good example of a rainbow nation – determined to make a difference in both the poor township and suburban residents of Makana (formerly Grahamstown), Eastern Cape.

On Wednesday the council was expected to sit for the first time post the election to elect the mayor and speaker.
The MCF – which regards itself as a civic movement more than a political party – is aiming to unseat the ANC as the governing party in Makana in the next local elections and instil a people-centred government.

The forum contested the 1 November municipal polls within five months of its launch but sur- prised many in its performance. It managed to reduce the ANC majority from 60% in 2016 to 53% and received 18.1% of the votes.
The most amazing part is the fact that a small, new kid on the block managed to outpace the DA, which receive 17% in the polls.

READ: Mashaba doesn’t want to be mayor, only wants to keep ANC out of power

The MCF acting convenor Lungile Mxube said they had decided to allocate the seats according to the party’s non-racial policy to depict the party’s genuine rainbow composition.

The forum was founded on the basis of fighting for people’s rights and delivery of services.

It was the product of struggle against illegal dumping and residents fight against the previous council’s ineptitude in dealing with service delivery, which culminated in the dissolution of the Makana local municipality by the court.

“We don’t define ourselves as the official opposition, but we are a grassroots movement that represents the citizens of Makana and that will hold the ANC accountable,” said Mxube.

“We will ensure that all decisions would be people-centred and that no decision was taken in dark corners without the citizens.”

The MFC’s candidates were a multiracial contingency comprising Mxube (black male), Prof Phillip Machenik (white) and computer science lecturer at Rhodes University, Jane Bradshaw (white) an educationist who founded of a special school for streets kids.

Other candidates were Khungeka Mashiane, a black female and Jonathan Walton, a coloured male and a civil society worker.

– ericn@citizen.co.za