Beware, Mr. President. As you are cajoling the members of the EFF and the far left you are at risk of opening a vacuum that will take you completely by surprise. The ANC has for years been a big tent liberation party, but as liberation is becoming more and more meaningless, so it has been forced to adopt a position similar to worldwide trends. With that, it has landed on a leftist platform and it only makes sense that the opposite stand, especially for black voters, has to be filled by someone. And it will.
In every country in the world, you see this phenomenon. For a Bernie Sanders, there is a Donald Trump. For a Jeremy Corbyn there is a Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage. For a growing green party in Germany, there is an AFD to counter it. And so there will arrive on the scene someone to negate Julius Malema, someone to voice the opinion of many black South Africans who are frustrated with the antiques of the EFF.
Election results are telling in that many of the votes the ANC has lost to Cope in the 2009 elections, especially in the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape, has so far not been captured by anyone. In the recent election, in many provinces, the EFF was only able to steal half of the votes the ANC lost. These elusive voters are generally older voters, who are tiring of the ANC’s ineptitude, but unwilling to cast their votes with the EFF, as they see them like quasi terrorists. There are numerous candidates available to receive their approval.
It cannot, however, be the DA in its current form. The problem that the DA has is not, in my opinion, a problem that its policies are not attractive. I believe most South Africans have sympathy with their ideas and agree with them, as the polling suggests. But the problem is, is that those ideas are not turn out concepts. The DA is too rational in an age where it counts to be emotional. People do not want to travel to stadiums to hear that through the DA, they would be allowed to be more responsible. They want bad guys. A movement against a common foe. They want to hear that the state will still be there in some form to take care of them and so it will be left for another party to claim this void.
First of all, this vacancy can be easily filled by the likes of the IFP or ACDP or even a merger between the two. Perhaps realizing their potential, the IFP has now announced that it will contest various elections in Limpopo in pursuit of momentum. Consequently, the ACDP is also in a favorable position to siphon of disillusioned voters from the ANC, especially in the Western Cape. With the FF+’s obsession with Afrikaans, reimagining Apartheid in a better light and with its connections to Apartheid leaders of the past, their base will remain white for the foreseeable future. Another possibility would be the party Herman Mashaba forms, which could gather its base in Gauteng. There are some similarities between Mashaba and Trump and if the former mayor decides to follow the same route, especially if he bangs on about immigration, he could very well end up being the torchbearer of this new development.
The success of the ATM in the Eastern Cape demonstrates the success of a party based on Christian values, but it seems like the party has a clear connection and affiliation with the Zuma faction, which could only lead to its downfall. Another possibility would be one of the church leaders in South Africa announcing his or her candidacy, with the opening support coming from his church following. The churches are powerful in South Africa and a future political leader can easily rise from them. A party stemming from such origins can effortlessly win over white voters, especially in the north.
The new party must focus broadly on three main issues.
- Curtailing immigration will be one of the main issues of the new movement and an extremely underrated issue that is cast aside by the EFF and ANC, who seek ever-closer ties on the African continent. This, against the wishes of many sections of South Africa who have a very xenophobic streak. The attacks many foreigners had to endure at the hands of South Africans are evidence of this as well as the backlash the EFF had to experience when it announced it is open to the idea of open borders in Africa. Many potential EFF voters declined to vote for the party as a result. The issue of immigration will grow in size as the African Union now has plans for a borderless Africa.
- Social Values
- The message of the new movement will be one of a return to social values, with a core feeling of being threatened by the increasingly tough stance taken against gender-based violence. Whether we like it or not, many cultural groups in South Africa have a discriminatory stance against women and now suddenly ordering them to change that can only provoke hatred for alterations on that magnitude. Another issue that can return to the forefront is the death penalty, citizens willing to support this drastic step to stem of the scourge of crime. Curtailing certain civil rights to deal with corruption and ineptitude can also be popular. Some might even call for a suspension of the Constitution if they feel it only protects cronies.
- One of the core messages of the movement has to be a message of the people vs. the elites, which is profoundly successful for populist parties in other countries. It must be the little guy vs. the big guy. The rural voters vs. urban voters. The people vs. Pretoria and in that spirit, a message of federalism, nicely packaged, could be very successful. Because the most advanced form of federalism is essentially capitalism, it could be creatively used to convince people that want more state intervention, to loosen up on centralized control.
Economics is largely an overrated issue, as most people do not have a decent education on the matter. But, the new party could only advocate for less spending, as the ANC is far to the left on the issue and there is no way you could surpass them, unless you want to fall in the EFF’s lane, which is already occupied.
This constituency for a new right movement will be much bigger than the EFF and could be, for example, the main talking point in five or ten years from now. It is always amazing how the political landscape can change in such a short span. Ten years ago, the EFF was barely an idea. Now it seems like the EFF tail is wagging the ANC dog. In ten years from now, the ANC could be scrambling desperately to fight off the right insurgence, promising and implementing wave after wave of structural reforms, the EFF largely forgotten as most of their top brass are likely to see some sort of jail time in any case. And with the EFF being mostly a party revolving around Julius Malema, his imprisonment could send the party down the tubes.
So take heart South Africa. Things change quickly. The support is there, it only needs to be harnessed. Watch for the local election results of the IFP in Limpopo. Keep an eye out for the new party Mashaba is forming. And perhaps hope and observe, a true centre or right of centre party that will finally deliver the killing blow to the ANC. Wait and witness, the imminent rise of the right.