Twenty years ago the staple of opposition politics was floor crossing. Now it is party swapping, former DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango being the current case in point.
Although The Mercury (October 18) provided a generous amount of space for Mncwango to justify his move from the DA to Action SA, nowhere in that report did he define what Action SA would do differently from what is DA policy. Being enamoured at the prospect of joining a party pledged to “save South Africa” is well and good, but real politics is about substance.
To save South Africa requires cancelling the cancer of socialism, the Employment Equity Act and B-BBEE and enshrining merit in the constitution. It requires breaking the power of trade unions which not only sustain unemployment but stifle economic growth. It requires a major overhaul of the scores of SOEs involving degrees of privatisation. By liberating the economy from its socialist and racial strictures, unemployment can be reduced and poverty alleviated.
Obviously given the mess we are in, every aspect of governance requires overhauling and re-tooling, particularly law and order, health and education. Be that as it may, all of the above and more are on the DA’s radar for the simple reason that they are what is required to salvage the country.
Having been a DA provincial leader, Mncwango will be acutely aware of the importance of party structures in mobilising voters and mounting election opposition. He will know that without grass roots structures, political opposition is reduced to tokenism.
The network of branches and activists the DA commands is the result of 20 years of effort. Without such an organisational structure, it is not possible to mount a credible political campaign and therefore not possible to harvest serious results. That is the reality which faces new political ventures.
In the unlikely event that Action SA can spell out how its policies are more appropriate for the task of saving SA, it is difficult to shake the feeling that party swapping events are like flashmobs – brief, overexposed exercises which are eclipsed by reality. Mncwango has much to prove.