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Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY
Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY

Most South Africans who want to see progress towards racial harmony and a country, free of corruption and crime, that provides a rising standard of living for all would agree that our fractured, fragmented opposition represents a serious impediment in that regard.

The confused and ineffective mosaic of opposition parties has allowed the ANC government to continue its disastrous management of our country and has helped the EFF capture a political relevance way beyond what it deserves.

Without a competitive majority force capable of unseating the ANC and politically dwarfing the EFF, South Africans will witness the racially motivated destruction of our constitutional democracy, the collapse of the rule of law, a loss of the independence of the judiciary, hijacked property rights and a continued trajectory towards poverty, wretchedness and hopelessness.

DA leader John Steenhuisen’s proposal to generate some momentum towards the cohesive integration of ideologically compatible political parties with the objective of removing the ANC from government should therefore be welcomed.

Yet sadly, and perhaps wrongly, that momentum is likely to peter out if it is perceived to be primarily provided or led by the DA, or is driven exclusively by party leaders. The latter will find it difficult to put aside their egos, historical grievances and prejudices, and personal political ambitions, so the initiative, desirable as it may be, could be stillborn.

Perhaps under the convenorship of an independent, non-partisan civil society mediator from, for example, the Defend our Democracy campaign, the opposition parties could each nominate two senior representatives from their ranks. That could form the basis for a working group mandated to construct a credible plan for a cohesive opposition, which could be presented to and agreed on by party leaders and membership. The adoption or rejection of the plan should not be a leader-only prerogative.

The power of such a political combination could change the fortunes of our country, and those parties or leaders declining to participate in the construction or implementation of such a plan will be remembered for their egotism and putting their own interests above those of the country.

David Gant

Kenilworth

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