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RISE Mzansi disappointed Change Starts Now will not contest elections, will begin consolidation talks

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RISE Mzansi disappointed Change Starts Now will not contest elections, will begin consolidation talks

RISE Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi
RISE Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi

4th March 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer

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RISE Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi on Monday revealed that a meeting with leaders of former banker Roger Jardine’s Change Starts Now (CSN) party will take place, following CSN’s dropping out in the runup to the 2024 national and provincial election.

Last week, Jardine confirmed his party will not contest the general elections, citing the decision by the Constitutional Court to decline to urgently hear the matter of signature requirements for unrepresented political parties.

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In an exclusive interview with Polity, Zibi said RISE Mzansi was opposed to the signature requirements set out by the Independent Electoral Commission for parties to contest the elections, calling it an “arbitrary system”. He said the requirement had been a big distraction for the party, although the party managed to meet the requirements.

Zibi said it was not a fair system for political parties, and “bad for South Africa that somebody like Roger is not able to contest because the country needs to change the face of South African politics”.

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He said he was gutted that Jardine was not able to contest the elections, as “South Africa is in need of a different politician, a role model, somebody who has done well professionally, who decided to serve the public”.

Zibi said this week RISE Mzansi would start talks with prominent figures of the CSN party to gauge interest in whether they would want to join RISE Mzansi’s campaign. He said RISE Mzansi and the leadership of the CSN party got along very well.

“And now that they are not campaigning it is really possible that some of the people that would have been helping their campaign, might also help our campaign. Because at the value levels, there is a match. These are people we are friendly with and from this week we are going to start talking to see who is interested in joining our campaigns,” Zibi said.

Meanwhile, RISE Mzansi has criticised government’s move to add R200-million towards political party funding, as laid out in the Budget, saying the money “will end up in the bank accounts of major political parties”. Zibi said the move was a scam.

GOOD AND QUALITY LEADERSHIP

Meanwhile, he said South Africa’s obstacles were bad leadership and the quality of political and policy decision-making.

“…how State capital is allocated to the different priorities; that’s our problem essentially right now. Unless we solve that problem, no other policy solution is going to work, no matter how good,” he said.

RISE Mzansi aims to make the public procurement system transparent, and Zibi said the party proposed the use of technology, such as blockchain, to “bulletproof the process”.

RISE Mzansi proposes that the appointment of directors general be public and transparent.

“In other words, there is shortlist, eventually a candidate is selected and once the candidate is selected, there must be a public interview process, the same way it is done with judges. Thieves will not want journalists to know ahead of time that they have been running for a particular position,” he said.

Meanwhile, he gave assurances of the party’s commitment to contest the 2024 election by aiming for all metros, in particular Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and those in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces.

Zibi told Polity that his party was now able to run 400 campaigns a day, which he said showed the party’s footprint and the strength of its organising forces on the ground.

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