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Dispersed opposition politics has essentially failed, certainly at a national level. My expectations for who will be in charge after the upcoming general election remains essentially unchanged — same power base, same outlook.

There is a groundswell of cries for change and plenty of evidence to confirm that it is necessary, but don’t expect change to be delivered by this election. Perhaps the provincial elections will reflect some changes (maybe even pleasant surprises?), but no matter how autonomous from political party influence regional elections may want to be, there will still be appointments made from the centre, so it’s at national level that we must get it right.

To make the fundamental shift — changes that are required to set course for a more prosperous, healthy, peaceful and just society, the centre must be powerful — capable of making decisions that may even require a two-thirds majority. That’s how big and determined (not forceful — we have enough misguided force in the system already) the changes have to be.

The hard part is not which direction to take — we’re already desperate enough to agree on those primal needs — and the barely distinguishable party-promise manifestos are proof enough of that. It’s clear what has to be fixed, so who can and will get it done?

The hard work will be in agreeing on the “executive team” (cabinet?) that will require consensus at least on the appointment (and number) of mission-critical ministers and directors general, and other key leaders of the SA Revenue Service, Reserve Bank, Constitutional Court and the like, and then getting those selected to sign up for three-to-five-year plans, translated into milestone measurable mandates, with embedded failure consequences and success incentives.

To an objective outsider the composition of such a controlling party would be simple arithmetic once (or, rather, if and when) irrevocable rules governing the appointment of key position candidates and post-election mandates have been agreed by the parties qualified for initial inclusion (putting aside, for now, but wanting to include, the new children on the block, because that’s where a lot of the young guns are, with great ideas about a future longer than their past).

At the table we would then find seated the ANC, DA, EFF, IFP and ASA (leaving out MK, because it is setting up to do a deal with someone, whatever happens). Any number of possibilities exist, but not really. We’d have to build off a strong foundation, and nobody is going to listen until a 51% group has formed and recognised the need to get to 67%, and agreed on terms.

The “simplest” 51% is an ANC-DA merger (>60%, maybe even 67% is my guess). There isn’t another 67% that doesn’t require at least four parties to come together, and that’s just too messy to mix (the Multiparty Charter is a case in point).

A coalition will not be a strong enough bond, no matter how tightly it may initially be bound by promise or contract. A new party, possibly a new leader, a new set of regalia and slogans, with its own unique manifesto and a newly constituted executive ... the lot. That’s what’s required — no baggage, no lingering loyalty.

Such a powerful body could only be tolerated if it delegated the executive authority responsible for implementing the master plan to independently minded, self-evidently competent people beyond reproach. We have plenty of those among us, but they would only sign up for the right deal under the right leadership. We’d all be on the field, doing it together — pass, assist, score.

I know. But just imagine... capital pouring in, the prospect of peace, prosperity and a future brighter than our terrible past, co-owned and constructed by those people of SA already gatvol of not speaking as one. 

Oops, my alarm just went off. I’d better wake up and get to work.

• Barnes is an investment banker with more than 35 years’ experience in various capacities in the financial sector.

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