Yesterday (Saturday 1 November), marked yet another historic day in the politics of South Africa. As many had anticipated, a new political party will be born in South Africa in the Free State on December 16. Mbhazima Shilowa, former Gauteng premier, said the new party “which has yet to be named” will not only “take on” the dominant ANC, but “is going to win the next election”. The new party, to be formed as a break away from the ruling ANC will have a name and logo different from the ANC as the leaders want to build a brand new identity.
More than 6000 delegates attend the South African national convention held in Sandton on Saturday to show their support for this new political party. At the forefront of this party are: former ANC chairman Terror Lekota, former deputy defence minister Mluleki George and former Gauteng premier, Mbhazima Shilowa.
The name of the new party has already raised a lot of debate. On the eve of the convention, the ANC launched a bid in the Pretoria High Court for an interdict against the use of what seemed the most likely name, the SA National Congress, as well as the SA National Convention. The ANC said it was protecting its “trademark, name and identity”. At the convention Shilowa jokingly said the new party will be called “Shikoleki”, a cobble of his name, Lakota’s and Mluleki’s.
What is this new party going to stand for and is it going to be successful? Those are the questions a lot of people are going to be asking. What was interesting to note at the convention was that opposition political parties were also present at the convention and showing their support for this new party. The Democratic Alliance, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Independent Democrats, the African Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement were all present. Is this a sign that we could be headed for a new coalition government at national, provincial and local levels after the 2009 elections?