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1.               Introduction

The 1910 Union of South Africa Constitution and the consequent establishment of the ANC in 1912 and the National Party in 1914, placed South Africa on a divided, confrontational road of politicking right up to the general election of 1994.  This situation polarized not only the politics of the country but the entire society along racially determined dividing lines. No credible effort has been made to re-orientate the constituencies to prepare them for the inevitable realignment if South Africa is to become a winning nation.

After 1994 (and now still) it was necessary to embark on a course of political realignment - to involve all major political parties - aimed at transforming the political landscape and equipping South Africa to face the twenty-first century with confidence and hope for all.

2.               Realignment

2.1.                     The country needs a political realignment, beginning with opposition parties but by no means to the exclusion of the governing party, in order to change the political landscape of the country.  Only in that way can the divisions of the past along racial and ideological lines be overcome in the interests of the country as a whole, if it is to successfully face and overcome the challenges and demands the future holds for us.

2.2.                     A mere alliance of parties to challenge together the governing party while each retains its own identity - and therefore its own baggage of the past - will not serve this purpose.  Such an arrangement would amount to a messy conglomerate of ideologies and mindsets which would only confuse and frighten off voters, would be interpreted as a ganging up on the ANC and would again accentuate rather than remove the painful divisions of the past.  Reconciliation in the national interest will be set back further and the best interests of the country will not be served.  An entirely new political entity, which is not burdened by history and with its roots in the New South Africa and established under the new Constitution, is needed as an alternative to the current ruling party.

2.3.                     What is ideally necessary is that a new entity emerge to concretise the design of a fresh political landscape. This new landscape will have to be constructed within a new frame of reference which would have done away with the sterile and often petty battle lines of the past, and which would have to be focussed entirely on the best interests of the country and its future, including and especially the betterment of the lives and prospects of the masses of the poor and the destitute in our society.

3.               Phases of the process

To achieve the desired alignment, a series of phases is required:

     other parties, politicians and role players in civil society have to be involved and their thoughts and ideas pooled to achieve the best possible framework for political realignment;

     the idea of fundamental political and social change must be established and promoted, at leadership as well as grassroots levels;

     the leaders of all political parties interested must meet at the earliest convenient moment to discuss the way forward and to establish work groups / commissions to take the process further;

     special attention must be given at the leader summit regarding a modus vivendi for the local elections;

     planning should start at the leader summit for a convention (to grasp the imagination of South Africans), which should take place in 2000.

Bantu Holomisa, MP

25 November 1999

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