/ 5 December 2023

Multi-Party Charter says it didn’t discuss Jardine as  presidential candidate

Former Aveng chief executive Roger Jardine said he was surprised at the structured nature of the collusion.
Roger Jardine. File photo by Jeremy Glyn/Gallo Images

The Multi-Party Charter for South Africa (MPC) says it has capable leaders to run the country should it emerge as the victor in the 2024 elections. 

The charter was reacting to a Sunday Times report that businessman Roger Jardine met DA leaders for talks about becoming the face of the MPC and possibly South Africa’s next president. 

The MPC, consisting of the Democratic Alliance (DA), ActionSA, Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front plus, the Independent South African National Civic Organisation, United Independent Movement and the United Independent Movement, published a statement on Monday evening distancing itself from the news report. 

“It is fully recognised that every party in the Multi-Party Charter has the autonomous right to engage with, and make decisions about their relationship with, different individuals and

organisations. Notwithstanding this fact, the Multi-Party Charter For South Africa would like to point out that there have been no discussions relating to a joint presidential candidate for the charter.

“The charter agreement recognises the individual identity of each party and the imperative for each party to grow its individual electoral support with a view to advancing the prospects of a collective majority for the charter. It is understood that this requires each party to advance its own offer to the South African people within the context of the agreement.” 

The MPC said any decision to support a joint presidential candidate, either before or after the elections, would be based on the merit and mandate of the candidate.

“The parties in the Multi-Party Charter For South Africa affirm that our parties are led by leaders who are all capable of providing the leadership needed for a new multi-party coalition to start the work of turning South Africa around,” it said.

The MPC signed an agreement during its first convention in August, which stipulated that the leader of the coalition partner that secures the largest number of votes will become the leader of government business in a coalition cabinet.

As things stand, this would guarantee the DA’s John Steenhuisen the post of deputy president of the country as the leader of the largest opposition party, should they make it over the line in the next elections.

The issue of who becomes president would be resolved through a vote in parliament because it is MPs, not voters, who elect South Africa’s head of state.

The parties would share cabinet posts on a proportional system based on the number of votes they secure, but have also agreed in principle to review the size of South Africa’s cabinet should they come to power.

They agreed to carry out lifestyle audits on all members of the executive, and that the party which is dominant in the cabinet will not enjoy the same dominance in parliament.

This will give key posts such as committee chairs, the speaker and the whips positions in the National Assembly and the National Council of the Provinces — as well as the provincial legislatures — to the other parties in the coalition.

The parties also agreed that they would allocate cabinet posts based on merit and not patronage or party membership and to make cabinet appointments from across South Africa’s population groups.

The FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald has previously warned that the country is not ready for a white president, endorsing IFP leader Velenkosi Hlabisa for the top job.