National convention next step after anti-Zuma protest, says Holomisa

2017-04-18 06:03

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has appealed for a national convention to be held to fix South Africa.

This would be the next step that followed the march in Pretoria last week by opposition parties calling for the removal of President Jacob Zuma, he said.

In a letter that he began distributing to political parties, religious and civic society yesterday, Holomisa said that a vehicle needed to be found for all parties, irrespective of political affiliation, to assemble and hammer out a common future for South Africa that was binding to all.

He would also raise the issue today with opposition party leaders during a debriefing meeting about the protest march and to consider a way forward.

Opposition parties could not march forever, he said, “but we must find a way to converge under one roof”.

“Our nation yearns for an alternative route towards finding sustainable solutions to our vexing problems and to remove the dark cloud that hangs over our fledgling democracy,” he wrote.

A group of ANC members was effectively holding the nation of about 56 million people to ransom, said Holomisa. “It [the ANC] acts in the name of 11 million voters, some of whom have since joined hands with other citizens, which includes the plus-minus 8 million people who did not vote ANC, in protest of its leadership and its sponsored president.

“It is the same ANC that is undoing the legacy of the likes of Mandela, Sisulu, Luthuli, Tambo and many others who fought for a free, democratic South Africa.”

He said the “self-correcting” nature of the ANC was long gone, and South Africa could not invest in the myth any longer.

“It may be that the outcomes of the much-awaited ANC elective conference of 2017 will be worse than expected. Unfortunately, and because the ANC is the governing party, South Africa will not emerge unscathed from its internal implosion.”

However, Holomisa said yesterday that the ANC was also invited, and that the aim was to be inclusive and non-partisan.

In his letter, he called for leaders of political parties and civic society to first meet to thrash out issues to be tabled at a national summit. At this meeting a steering committee would be formed to prepare for the summit, and funders would be approached.

After common ground has been proposed and binding principles agreed to at the national summit, working groups would be formed to tease out the details.

“A new vision should respond to burning issues such as land, economy, employment, corruption, education, health, a review of our electoral system, party funding and others.”

Resolutions adopted at the national summit would then be tabled at a national convention, a platform for all South Africans, said Holomisa, who has been calling for an economic Codesa for some time to tackle the country’s challenges.

He has sent the letter to Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who has called for a new type of Convention for a Democratic SA that led to the new SA in 1994, this time to specifically tackle the economy and land.

Holomisa’s letter comes amid intense divisions within the ANC alliance about the current leadership under Zuma under and amid a groundswell of resistance to the president by opposition parties and civic society.

Read: Rich and poor must negotiate tradeoffs or risk Zimbabwe moment, warns Makgoba

Janet Heard
Media24 Parliamentary Editor
City Press
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September 15 2019