Political parties parlay people’s expectations to get to Parliament … pfft

When Zimbabwean writer Noviolet Bulawayo penned her 2013 novel We Need New Names, she could have been referring to South African political parties.

From the good, the bad to the United Moral Movement for the Advancement for All, South African voters are spoilt for choice.

Since former government spokesperson Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi launched his African Transformation Movement, you can now get him at the ATM. The former ANN7 boss has also withdrawn his ANC membership, which means he’s no longer conflicted about whether to vote for Cyril Ramaphosa, a definite cash-22 for the former Jacob Zuma supporter.

The Independent Electoral Commission has 285 registered political parties who qualify to contest elections nationally. It doesn’t mean they’ll all appear on the ballot paper though. They first have to pay a R200 000 deposit to be eligible to contest the election nationally, and R45 000 to contest in each province. And that’s before they spend money on campaigning.

Nineteen parties have the word “Unified” in their names. Maybe they should merge under the banner of the Simunye in Christ Party and become one? But for now, they’re as split as the Divided Party, an organisation registered to a Marquard Dirk Pienaar in Vanderbijlpark.

No less than 10 parties identify as Khoi or Khoisan, because there’s nothing coy about bragging that you were here first.

Few have ever heard of the Famous Youth Movement of South Africa. They’re presumably a social media movement of Twitterati and Instagram celebs.

The South African Taxi and Transport Alliance promises not to take voters for a ride. That’s a bold political ambition, but, as we know, taxis refuse to stick to their lane.

With the dozens of options for voters, the possibilities for inter-party co-operation could be limitless. If Patricia de Lille’s Good movement and the Dagga Party join forces, a Good-Dagga coalition could poll high numbers. A joint sitting of Parliament will be expected.

And if the Super Party of Somerset West and the Liberal Party merge, the Super Liberal Party could be the new home of half of the Democratic Alliance.

With our rise from apartheid to a democratic country we should by now know that All Things Are Possible. That’s the name of my favourite political party, which is guaranteed to get nowhere close to Parliament.

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Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

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