It is time to lay the foundation for South Africa’s second democratic transition in which power is handed back to the people, said One South Africa (OSA) movement leader Mmusi Maimane this week in a virtual press conference where he announced a campaign to get behind independent candidates in the upcoming local government elections.
“We are convinced that to change our country we desperately and urgently require a change in both governance and government,” he said regarding a call by OSA’s national council to urge individuals, affiliates and organisations that believe in direct elections and share their values and pact to partner with them in the proposed candidate support campaign.
Emphasising that OSA is not — and never will be — a political party — he said the campaign is all about putting true power back in the hands of the people to build a South Africa that is fair, reconciled and prosperous for all.
“We believe the party-political system is fundamentally broken and adding another party to the ever-growing list is not a viable solution. However, we cannot simply sit back and spectate while our country heads in the wrong direction. What is patently clear is that local government is failing and our citizens are suffering as a result,” he said.
“Therefore, national council has resolved to support a cohort of independent candidates, chosen by their communities to stand for election as ward councillors in the local government elections. We are convinced that these elections can and will demonstrate the power and potential of independent candidates, providing South Africans with a real alternative to political parties.
“OSA will not be on the ballot paper. Rather, we will support, train, equip and campaign for OSA endorsed independents in wards across the country. By working with communities and affiliates, we aim to bring change to councils and municipalities across the country.
“These candidates will not be OSA candidates – they will be independent candidates of their community – supported by the people, focused on delivering for the people. Instead of candidates being imposed onto communities, this allows communities to choose the best of
the best to represent them in councils,” he said.
Dr Michael Louis, of OSA, who has been at the forefront of an electoral reform push in SA, told Gateway News that the local government elections campaign will be a preparation for the 2024 general election when independent candidates will, for the first time, be able to stand for provincial and national office.
He urged Christian churches to get involved in the process of putting forward independent candidates.
For this year’s local government elections the goal was not to raise a huge number of candidates but to support outstanding candidates with world-class training grounded in biblical values through the School of Governance and the Leadership Institute in Washington.
At Monday’s press conference Maimane said OSA and its partners will shortly commence a process to identify candidates and communities which they will support.
All South Africans are invited to submit proposed independent candidates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 5pm on Monday March 1.
Proposed candidates ought to espouse ethical leadership and be held in high esteem by members of their community, he said.
Each submission will need to answer the following questions:
- What ward and what municipality will be contested?
- What is the name and surname of the proposed independent candidate?
- Why would this candidate be the best person to represent the ward as its councillor?
- What is the independent candidate’s campaign plan?
- What are the organisations or community groupings present in the ward that OSA could partner with in support of the independent candidate?
In addition to the answers to the above questions, each submission must be accompanied by a list of signatures of ward residents pledging support for the independent’s candidacy.
Training of candidates to become effective and accountable councillors will commence on March 29.
OSA PACT (that must be signed by approved independent candidates)
We believe in a just society in which all citizens can live together peacefully and prosper. We
do so by being activists where we campaign on behalf of all citizens and hold government and
civic society accountable for their actions.
The One South Africa Movement is working to build a society where:
• There can be racial, cultural and gender harmony and tolerance amongst all citizens.
• Citizens can fairly and equitably participate in our economy and prosper.
• Our students, young and old, can have access to a world-class education that empowers
them for a future of their choice and capability.
• Our citizens can be able to live free from crime and corruption.
• We can address the historical injustices of South Africa and any future injustices
• Build a government that is capable, agile, transparent and future-focused.
• Public representatives will be chosen directly by the people and are accountable to the
• We can live in a sustainable environment that we can hand over to future generations.
• There is complete human dignity for all that can never be taken away.
This is our pledge and if we work together locally and across the continent of Africa, we can
build a future for generations to uphold.