/ 3 September 2008

Born-again Nats behind Zuma

Embattled ANC president Jacob Zuma has drawn support from a rather surprising quarter — the born-again National Party.

The NP’s Western Cape leader, Sarah Vogt, told the Mail & Guardian last week that she is ”deeply worried about the destructive politicking” around Zuma and believes the corruption charges against him should be dropped.

Vogt also believes that the prosecuting authorities should redirect their attention towards Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille.

”For the sake of stability, stop the prosecution and rather prosecute De Lille, who went overseas discussing arms deal secrets with foreign companies,” Vogt said.

”In doing so she placed South Africa in a very bad light. We believe that is much more serious than what Zuma did,” added Juan Duval Uys, former spokesperson for Badih Chaaban’s New National Party and now one of the NP’s nine collective leaders and director of communications.

Observers could be excused for thinking that the tilt at De Lille is connected with NP plans to target the coloured vote and hopes of holding the balance of power in the Western Cape after the next election.

”Although we’re not a coloured party, most of our support will be among coloured voters in the Western and Northern Cape and we’re focusing on those areas,” said Vogt.

She said the party would ”definitely” fare better than the ID.

With plans to field 175 candidates, the NP will also focus its election drive on white farmers, ”who are being murdered”, and black, white and coloured and Indian voters who do not see their future in the ANC.

The party, disbanded in 2005 amid general rejoicing, has now registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.

Vogt insisted that the new-look NP is an ”integrated, non-racial party, but we’re also saying you can’t ignore ethnicity.

”We say our society is ethnically divided and we live according to our ethnic identities. We believe we shouldn’t have one leader, but nine national leaders and a provincial leader in each province — that way we can represent everybody.

”We don’t want apartheid again but the ANC is still promoting apartheid. Affirmative action disadvantages coloured people and we’ll re-look at that.”

Other policies are standard Christian hard-right fare: the death penalty to combat violent crime, a crackdown on Satanism, and a tougher regime for prisoners ”who will grow their own food and start building houses, make bricks and earn their keep in prisons”.

The NP also wants to ”come down hard” on children who don’t respect their parents.

Vogt insists a ”huge hole was created” when former leader Martinus van Schalkwyk ”killed” the New National Party and joined the ANC without a voter mandate.

”The Nats made mistakes, but FW de Klerk apologised. It’s survived all these years and we’re bringing it back because there’s a very strong need among the electorate.”

Vogt provided a curious racial analysis of the party’s potential support base.

Blacks and coloureds did not want to vote for the DA because Helen Zille is too white and English, while Afrikaners also dislike the party because Tony Leon is Jewish and English-speaking.

”Fewer Xhosas will vote for the ANC because Jacob Zuma is a Zulu and whites won’t vote for Patricia de Lille because she’s a coloured, and so on and so on,” she said.