Holomisa cautions Ramaphosa about ‘loose tongue’ over small party comments

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa has cautioned President Cyril Ramaphosa against having a “loose tongue” when talking about small political parties.

This comes after Ramaphosa discouraged a crowd in Seshego, Limpopo, against voting for “smaller parties who say they are going to lead.”

Ramaphosa was in Seshego — the home town of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema — on Tuesday, campaigning for the ANC ahead of the national elections set to take place next month.

“No other smaller party has the experience to take the country forward,” Ramaphosa said further, in vernacular.

“What Ramaphosa has said seems to be in relation to the EFF, which we should distinguish from ‘small parties’ in the broader sense,” says analyst Tasneem Essop, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Society Work and Politics Institute (SWOP).

“The EFF cannot be read as a vote for a small party, or a ‘wasted vote’”, says Essop. “They have representation in the national assembly and have certainly entrenched themselves, with their limited electoral support, as an important and vocal player in the political landscape, despite not governing anywhere yet.”

Essop believes that Ramaphosa’s comments are part of electioneering ahead of May 8. “Ramaphosa is trying to place the ANC as the only party capable of leading South Africa and constructing smaller parties in this way is about campaign messaging.”

“They can be seen as small in relation to the ANC certainly, but not in the same vein of talking about the parties that are looking at under 2% of the vote, many of them will not get representation in parliament and so on, so we should not muddle the two arguments.

Holomisa told the Mail & Guardian that without the efforts of smaller political parties, Jacob Zuma would still be in power as president. “The small parties have spent a lot of time and money to remove Zuma, which has enabled Ramaphosa to be the president today,” he said. “The so-called small parties in his little mind has sustained this democracy while he was a deputy minister and failed the country. He must not be disingenuous.”

Essop says it is important to be cognisant of what the presence of smaller parties says about the failures of the bigger parties. “This year we have 48 parties contesting the national election, up from the 33 in the last election. There are feelings that the major parties are not representing particular interests, which has seen parties emerge featuring figures, such as Good or BLF.

“It is impossible in this scenario for all the smaller parties to do well, but some of these parties could eat away at some of the votes for the major parties in small but significant ways, especially for the ANC.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Aaisha Dadi Patel
Aaisha Dadi Patel
Aaisha Dadi Patel was previously a member of the M&G’s online team. She holds an MA in Media Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand

Related stories


Subscribers only

Ithala fails to act against board chairperson over PPE scandal

Morar asked to settle with the state and pay back the profit he made on an irregular tender

Vodacom swindled out of more than R24m worth of iPhones

A former employee allegedly ran an intricate scam to steal 8700 phones from the cellular giant

More top stories

ArcelorMittal is ‘slowly becoming a burial site’

After the deaths of three employees who got trapped in a control room, workers allege that management frequently coerces them to bypass health and safety procedures

Jacob Zuma misses court deadline to respond to contempt application

Recalcitrant former president holds virtual meeting with ANC top six

No money to fund first-time university students, Nzimande says

Higher education minister says NSFAS is experiencing a funding shortfall and has requested that universities extend their registration period

Tackling the Western Cape’s housing problem, shack by shack

Youths can learn new skills and earn money at The Shackbuilder training institute, where how to build a shack is on the curriculum

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…