THE ANC in the Free State has dismissed the formation of a coalition by four opposition parties ahead of next year’s general elections as a frantic effort to lure votes because the individual parties have no substance and people do not take them seriously.
ANC Free State provincial secretary William Bulwane brushed off the seemingly shaky formation of the political grouping called the Collective for Democracy (CD), labelling it a desperate attempt by the smaller political parties to gain votes.
The coalition, which brings together the Freedom Front Plus, Cope, the African Christian Democratic Party and the United Christian Democratic Party, seemed to have started disintegrating as soon as it was launched on Tuesday after the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which was initially linked to the coalition dissociated itself from the group.
Bulwane said the plan by the small parties to try to unseat the ANC in the forthcoming elections was nothing more than a dream that will never see the light of day.
“This is a desperate attempt by people who do not have an edge in society and are doomed to fail,” said the outspoken secretary.
He mocked the opposition’s plot saying the people of South Africa have over the years showed confidence in the ruling party and would continue to do so in the upcoming elections.
“Our people know that it’s only the ANC that will continue to better their lives by fighting poverty and continue doing so until all its goal of equal society is achieved,” Bulwane said.
“It’s a survival approach by smaller parties hoping that other parties don’t take their votes,” he added.
“These coalitions have never worked.”
The coalition has a combined 39 seats in parliament.
IFP secretary general Sibongile Nkomo said in a statement that her party never made any undertaking that it would be part of the formation.
“The IFP has not given its blessing for a new party to be formed, nor have we agreed to be a part of a formal opposition coalition to contest the 2014 elections,” read part of the statement released Wednesday.
According to the statement, the leadership of the IFP was shocked to learn from the media that the party had entered into a formal coalition to contest the upcoming 2014 elections.
Nkomo explained that the IFP national council had in the past engaged in extensive discussions on multi-party co-operation politics but did not make any commitments.
“Members of the national council were presented with two models of co-operation which they considered,” she said.
“One such model was that opposition parties in parliament co-operate with each other, while maintaining their own identities and philosophies.
“Parties would then wait for the outcome of the elections to decide on how they could form alliances in different provinces.”
Christian Democratic Party (CDP) leader Theunis Botha said he found the co-operation agreement between these opposition parties as more of a politically expedient move than a real answer to the political situation in South Africa.
“It would appear that honesty and integrity are not high on the agenda for some of the parties that have decided to work together,” he said.
“This has however been in place for many years and has had very little effect on the balance of power.
“What this co-operation agreement means for the electorate, in real terms, is difficult to understand, as each party will still enter the election under its own banner.
“This means that scarce resources, such as finance and manpower required to run an effective election campaign, will still be wasted due to duplication.”
Political analyst Andre Duvenhage however said coalition politics could soon become a significant and critical element in South African politics if the parties are prepared to work together and define their roles properly.
“The smaller parties are trying to find a way of snatching a significant portion of the votes in the forthcoming general elections,” he said.
“But this does not mean they will grab the votes from the ruling party.
“They will have to work closely in order to form a formidable force and gain the confidence of the people.”
CD chairman Mosiuoa Lekota who is also the leader of Cope had not responded to questions submitted in writing by the Free State Times at the time of going to print.
But during the launch of the CD, he was quoted as saying that the country’s political landscape was set for a major transformation as different sectors of society were now represented in the coalition.
“We now have an opportunity to bring voters the hope of actual political change instead of giving up on alternatives because the ruling party has cynically manoeuvred its way into all sectors of our society, entrenching its power and corruption,” Lekota said.