The MPC - a stalking horse

The Multi-Party Charter was never a serious plan to begin with; the DA know they can't win. But it gives them an excuse to butter the public up for a coalition with the ANC

Robert Duigan


Robert Duigan


Apr 19, 2024

The MPC - a stalking horse

The Multi-Party Charter is a stalking horse, we all know this. The DA’s designs on a coalition with the ANC have been longstanding, as evidenced by public and leaked utterances by several of the leading executive committee members over the past several years (yes, click the link. I know you're skeptical).

Right until the moment their polling experts told them their constant bashing of coalition partners was a bad look just less than a year ago, they were adamant that each and every party besides themselves was not just a waste of time, but a pernicious blight on the face of the African subcontinent.

And it looks like they have returned to form, only this time it isn’t so much an electoral strategy as a desperate flailing as their support dips in their home province of the Western Cape.

The stalking horse

Down here, they have managed a 15-year majority, while failing on almost every campaign pledge they have had, wasted endless Rands on consultants and lawyers suppressing whistleblowers, writing useless bits of legislation they know will never pass, and refusing to devolve a scrap of power until the independence movement lit a fire under their posteriors.

Their experience with coalition government in Port Elizabeth is likely the cause of this, as the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality was a short-lived and volatile coalition that saw betrayals and disruption from their coalition partners, and intimidation, sabotage, and corruption from the ANC and EFF in opposition.

After that, the public voted them down from 46% to 39%, seeing minority governments as unstable. The ANC returned to government, and the decline continued.

Now, they play hardball. Fully willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto the Gauteng municipalities, they have promoted corrupt and unqualified members, and been so ruthless in negotiations that they have been willing to hand over the Metros to the ANC if their coalition partners so much as try to haggle on a comma.

Years of public recrimination of their partners as parasitic opportunists had to be put away however, as they suddenly needed them for more than just municipal coalitions.

With the most consequential election in a generation heading our way, the DA couldn’t afford to lose ground.

Facing voting losses in the Cape from Coloured identity parties (PA, GOOD, NCC) and secessionists (PR, VF+), they now have to fight a rearguard defence at provincials at the same time as buttering up the public for their planned betrayal at the national level.

After all, what would their “save SA” schtick look like if they opened campaign season with a plan to form a coalition with the ANC? No, they have to break the news gently.

The MPC plan is to ask voters to support a coalition of several smaller parties (comprising 30-35% of the electoral field in total) as the last hope for South Africa, while sending out a simultaneous message that the ultimate aim is to keep the EFF from power at all costs.

While they know they are pretending that they can win a general election, like they did for the past 20 years, the appearance of several smaller allies at least makes it slightly more credible. But it still isn't possible, and they know it.

However, what it does, is make a last-minute break with the pact look less like a cynical trap and more like a pragmatic compromise. This, in the context of years of comments supporting the idea, does not hold water.

“Least-worst option”

The ANC coalition option is sold as the “least-worst option”. But this isn’t remotely true. The power of the ANC to contain the EFF is not zero, but it isn’t strictly necessary either.

Cyril Ramaphosa already has people far more radical than the EFF in his own advisory board on land reform - Ruth Hall, who endorsed Robert Mugabe’s land reform program at the time, and urges a repeat in South Africa today, and Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, who thinks this is not far enough, all wealth of any kind must be utterly confiscated from every white person without delay, and they must be “swept into the sea” (it’s just a metaphor guys, he promises).

Plus, Cyril has loaded the legislature with the most radical left-wing agenda since the ANC came to power, with the Expropriation Bill joining the National Health Insurance Act, the District Development Plan, ever-stricter BEE and AA requirements, prescribed asset investment and new anti-terror laws which combine to form an almost totalitarian program which will slot into place by the end of the year.

While these laws will not be felt everywhere all at once, they are already most of the way to the EFF’s position anyway, and as the state begins enforcing them, the situation will rapidly decline on all fronts.

I have made the case many times before why the DA coming to power will render them powerless - they won’t be able to challenge or criticise the ANC, since the ANC can just form a coalition with the EFF or the MK, or both: they are the belle of the ball, capable of picking their own suitor.

The DA will no longer offer any form of opposition, and have to toe the line, and pretend their work is good. They will legitimate the ANC’s rule. They will change nothing, and they will get blamed for the further decline that will occur in the meantime.

And in the wings waits the MK and EFF to sweep to victory in 2029 and claim saviour status as they smash what’s left of the country into a thousand bits.

A real alternative

What the DA would be doing if they were serious about pursuing the interests of their own constituents, is backing devolution strategies ruthlessly. They would seek the breakup of the Gauteng metros and ram them past the municipal demarcation board by pushing community self-determination on the Constitutional Court.

They would be voting for the Western Cape Peoples Bill and seizing control of every major political authority and competency in the province. They may even give the people a referendum for extra leverage towards autonomy.

They would ruthlessly disregard any and all BEE requirements and use private security to bash any bailiff who wished to take them to court for a lack of racial discrimination in hiring.

They would partner with Afrikaner self-determination organisations to resettle the Northern Cape and seize key municipalities (many are so small a mere 1000-2000 voters would overturn the constituency).

They would prioritise Coloured people’s services and eradicate land invasions instead of rolling out the red carpet with billion-Rand free service budgets.

They would turn control of the streets and public amenities over to communities and refund their service costs. They would ruthlessly smother all union protests, all protests form the left in general.

They would offer the death penalty, real drug prohibition enforcement, abandon their aggressive socialist welfare-redistribution policies.

They would partner with royal houses and get their support in exchange for increased control over traditional governed regions.

In short, they would batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm, then sweep clean the 2029 elections, with all their main municipal constituencies safe from any electoral challenges for the next 30 years.

So why aren’t they doing this?

Shot through the heart

When I first argued against the coalition with the ANC, I thought the problem was naivité - I thought that Zille and her faction had merely convinced themselves they could fix the ANC and get them to do the right thing (foolish as that idea is). I thought they were ideologically blind and overconfident.

But the reality is that Ramaphosa’s administration has serious, and legally consequential dirt on the DA from years of corruption in Knysna and Garden Route.

Whether the negotiation really hinges on the threat of prosecution, which has been suspended for the past few years, is something I could never acquire evidence for legally.

But I am convinced that this cluster of corruption cases, which I am currently working through and compiling, is the key reason the ANC would even consider such an offer to begin with.

Without such a deal, the DA would have nothing to offer their erstwhile opposition. But with it, they can offer their testicles on a silver platter, just as the luminaries of that foetid eastern district known as the Garden Route have exchanged their undying loyalty for silence and career opportunities inside the DA. The promotion of Memory Booysen and Eleanor Bouw-Spies are only two strands in a much bigger web.

As far as the “stalking horse” metaphor takes me, from what I can see, the DA is no longer the hunter, but the hunted.


It would be a brilliant plan, if it weren't for the fact that it will destroy everything we hold dear.

Without a live, viable opposition to the right of the ANC, the minorities will disperse into an unmanageable and fractured crown of bitter and divided microparties, while the radical black nationalists reap the rewards of their years of crying "white monopoly capital" by credibly accusing the ANC of colluding with the "white party".

The DA's thirst for control, prestige and career opportunities will be sated, and they will attack all critics, even as they decline in public support.

The Rainbow Nation project will be treated as a success by all overseas commentators, funded as their news outlets are by the same financiers who propelled Ramaphosa to power in the ANC general assembly in 2017 on a wave of bribery and violence.

Thus, will all criticism of the current system be muted forever.

All options will be exhausted, except for Cape independence and the self-determination efforts of the Solidariteitbeweging, though these will become unbelievably harder to achieve.

Good luck in May.

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