Political Alliances Rooted in the Apartheid Past Need a Major Shake-Up

Article excerpt

It seems likely that Mamphela Ramphele's new party will help reshuffle and reshape opposition political parties after next year's general election. This can only be good for democracy.

But it certainly isn't the only political shake-up we need. Our political alliances and groupings are still rooted in the apartheid past.

Voters don't have clear policy options to embrace or reject.

This is why we should welcome the emergence of the new Workers and Socialist Party to be launched this week.

Too many people still vote for the ANC because it is a "black party" and was the former liberation movement, despite its dismal record of corruption and bad governance. Too many still vote for the DA because they think it has a minority bias and will give the ANC hell. It would be good for our political life if the DA could rid itself of its remaining elements among the white and other minority communities that believe the party will preserve their privilege and stop the black majority from overrunning them.

As the influence of dynamic, strong black leaders in the DA like Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mmusi Maimane grows, the party will become more unpalatable to ethnic chauvinists and reactionaries. But where would they take their vote to?

The only political party to the right of the DA is the Freedom Front Plus. But this party is still stuck on promoting the Afrikaner volkstaat idea and is dominated by old-style Afrikaner nationalists. Such a party can't possibly be a home for conservative or even right wing non-Afrikaners.

Pieter Mulder and his party should cross the Rubicon before next year's general election and declare that they have abandoned the nostalgic concept of a separate state for white Afrikaners.

They must know it is never going to happen - in fact, they actually know most Afrikaners don't really want it to happen, otherwise the existing mini-volkstaat of Orania would not have been stagnant for the past 23 years.

The biggest shake-up should happen in the ruling tripartite alliance. The concept of a "broad church" worked during the Struggle against apartheid, but after 19 years of democracy it has become obsolete and counter-productive. …