Independent candidates will crash the party, says Maimane
New movement’s leader wants to stop reliance on political parties and allow citizens to ‘take back control of towns’
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane believes his plan to form a “conglomerate” of independent candidates to contest the control of municipal councils, and not just wards, will “disrupt” the political system.
Maimane on Thursday launched a campaign to help independent candidates form a politically non-aligned entity to contest municipal polls as both ward candidates and proportional representation (PR) candidates at targeted councils.
He said in terms of section 15A of the Electoral Commission Act, that would allow his movement to help a group of candidates contest the control of municipalities with established political parties.
Maimane argued this would give power back to local communities and stop their reliance on political parties, which he claimed had failed to deliver tangible changes to people’s lives.
“It’s now time we stand up, organise and take back control of our towns and cities,” Maimane said.
“We are convinced that our new model is a disrupter to political parties. It will take power away from political parties and their dominance and give power to the people.”
In terms of Maimane’s proposal, to be considered as PR councillors, independent candidates would first have to organise themselves into a “citizen-led organisation” to challenge political parties.
Maimane said he would assist such organisations to register with the IEC to contest specific municipalities even though they were not political parties.
“Such organisations are not political parties. Political parties are by definition not independent. It’s only logical that if you are required to submit to a political party and accountable to its leadership for fear of losing your job, then you cannot at the same time be a freethinking community representative and servant of the people,” Maimane said.
Maimane said he was convinced that independent candidates could change the dilapidating state of municipalities, as they would not be bound by rules of political parties.
He said the biggest problem with a political party system was that councillors had to toe the line of march from their party bosses.
“It will depolarise and depoliticise local government, allowing for government to be controlled by citizen-led organisations and competent individuals – citizens who are honest, equipped and passionate about delivering basic services in a financially prudent and responsible manner,” Maimane said.
He said in terms of a memorandum of understanding to be signed with independent candidates, One SA Movement would sponsor technical expertise such as registering with the IEC and issue-driven campaign management and community engagement.
“Our role is not limited to just working with the associations and candidates but also working to empower the communities to hold their elected candidates to account. We will help communities develop mechanisms to ensure accountability in substance after the election,” Maimane said.
“In addition, OSA will be providing training to prepare councillors for office and prospective elected officials with support to be able to govern effectively.”