Winning power in all three spheres of government will remain a dream for Pieter Groenewald, but the newly-elected Freedom Front Plus (FF+) president is content with the role the party is playing as part of the opposition.
His priorities will include the promotion of Afrikaner pride and fighting for the rights of minorities.
“We must stop the bullying of minority groups in South Africa and that is where the coloured community, for instance, is also involved. We must stop it.
“We say we have a Constitution that believes in equal rights, so I say we must start practising it and say we are all equal.
“There are some Afrikaners who say they are getting worried because they feel ashamed and everything. I say be proud to be an Afrikaner if you’re an Afrikaner. Be proud,” said Groenewald in an interview this week.
He was voted in at the party’s elective conference in Kempton Park last weekend, replacing veteran politician and former deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Pieter Mulder, who held the position of party president for the past 15 years.
Groenewald said he would ensure that, under his leadership, the party would continue to fight for the scrapping of affirmative action.
The FF+, founded in 1994 by the former chief of the South African Defence Force, General Constand Viljoen, first proposed that affirmative action be scrapped in 2014, arguing that race targets in the public sector had already been reached and that further promotion of the policy bordered on racial discrimination and holding back minority groups.
Groenewald said affirmative action was being used by the majority to keep minorities, including coloured people, out of some jobs.
“I will endeavour to ensure that that sort of bullying must come to an end,” he said
The new FF+ leader said he wanted to see the party generate enough support to become a bigger political player and to intensify its watchdog role over corrupt leaders.
“We must end corruption because, in the end, it is destroying the whole of South Africa, which will have an effect on each and every one.”
The FF+ made significant gains during the August local government elections, winning 60 seats in several municipalities. Its support increased from 0.45% in the 2011 municipal elections to 0.77% during this year’s municipal elections.
The party won slightly more than 162 000 votes and four seats in Parliament in the 2014 national elections.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni believes the reason for the FF+’s growth in support in the local government elections was linked to the disillusionment of Afrikaners in the Democratic Alliance because black people are in leadership positions.
He said the FF+ strategy to promote minorities is unlikely to garner wider appeal. “For as long as you do not have prominent minority leaders in the Freedom Front Plus, for example, to say ‘we have a deputy president who is Indian’, then it won’t have an appeal. Their essence is to preserve the Afrikaner.”