“This is the start of a great transition birthing. Green shoots are all around us,” said elated Christian marketplace leader and One South Africa (OSA) movement activist Dr Mike Louis following yesterday’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that local government elections are going ahead on October 27.
Louis was at the forefront of a lengthy campaign to secure the right of independent candidates to contest provincial and national elections which led to a watershed ruling by the Constitutional Court in June last year giving the government 24 months to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate independents.
The president’s announcement of the polling date “ends months of uncertainty as elections and rumours that the election may be postponed gained support from certain political parties and interest groups within government”, says OSA in a media release.
With just 188 days to go to election day, OSA, which emphasises that it is not a political party, says it is geared up and ready to contest the elections through supporting, training and campaigning for independent candidates and community-led organisations across the country.
OSA chief activist Mmusi Maimane says members of their national team will be travelling to municipalities across the country next week to meet with key stakeholders that can partner with them in getting citizen-led governments elected into office.
“The goal is to remove the stranglehold that political parties have over the future of our communities by introducing a new model of governance that depolarises and depoliticises local government, allowing for government to be controlled by citizen-led organisations and competent individuals,” he says.
Louis says: “Young people are asking questions and seeking new answers. Our electoral system is totally broken. It cannot be fixed. There is no band-aid solution. There is no script to follow. We are on our own and need to now create our own path.
“This has been a 4-year journey in the making and it is not how we started but how we finished. We must win. And that is what is the most wonderful opportunity that is opening up. We are really opening up our eyes with great expectancy and it will be the most exciting rollercoaster adventure since our transition in 1994. May God guide us, give us vision and peace.”
Both Maimane and Louis participated in a 3-day training course for aspirant future candidates at the end of March conducted by the School of Governance in partnership with the Leadership Institute in Washington DC at Every Nation church in Cape Town and virtually.
Reporting on the training event, Afrika Mhlophe, who was one of the speakers, called on Christians to put “your hand up and be the answer to the cry for ‘competent leaders who respect God and are trustworthy and honest‘ (Exodus 18:21).”