Elect president directly‚ says Makhosi Khoza

30 November 2017 - 12:03 By Bongani Mthethwa
STRAIGHT SHOOTER Makhosi Khoza, a former ANC MP and chair of the portfolio committee on public service.
STRAIGHT SHOOTER Makhosi Khoza, a former ANC MP and chair of the portfolio committee on public service.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Outspoken former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza believes that the country’s president and deputy president should be elected directly and not through their parties.

Khoza‚ who has agreed to lead a new party after being approached by more than 15 organisations‚ says they have agreed that the proportional representation system needs to be changed.

South Africa’s electoral system is based on party-list proportional representation‚ which means that parties are represented in governmental structures based on the proportion of the support garnered in various elections. It is one of the systems that will come under scrutiny when Khoza’s new party will hold its conference next year.

“We are hoping to have a policy conference next year but there are areas that all these [15] parties agree on. We agree that we need to change the proportional representation system. We are even agreeing that the president and deputy president must be directly elected‚” said Khoza.

She was speaking in Durban on Wednesday night during her first public appearance since she resigned from the governing party.

The fiery former ANC MP‚ who is very critical of President Jacob Zuma’s leadership‚ said they would not be re-inventing the wheel but that certain aspects of the country’s constitution needed to be reviewed.

“There are aspects of our constitution that were taken at a particular time. Now we have more than 20 years of experience in government and we now know it is very difficult to remove a president if that president is elected by 4 000 delegates - because it boils down to that‚” said Khoza.

“The 11-million South Africans who voted for the ANC do not matter. Those who matter in the first instance are the one million members that they have‚ if they do‚ but you can reduce that to the 4 000 delegates that make the final decision and I don’t think that is democracy. I think it’s something else.”

Drawing comparisons between Nelson Mandela and Zuma‚ Khoza told a packed venue that Zuma had laughed when the ANC lost the Tshwane‚ Johannesburg‚ Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni metros during the August 2016 local government elections.

She also criticised Zuma’s decision to fire finance minster Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas‚ saying it was the reason the country was facing an economic meltdown.

“There is no way that the ANC can self-correct. There is just no way. I mean‚ when you have leaders who stand up and dissociate themselves from a decision that the president took of firing finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. What were you expecting?

"So what I am saying is that we are sitting with this because we gave the world Madiba and the world cheered us on and we decided that no‚ world‚ you are wrong. We then gave them Zuma - myself included.”

She also accused Zuma‚ without mentioning his name‚ of trying “so hard to project the image of the South African state as being Zulufied whereas it was being Guptarised".

“It is the responsibility of all of you in this gathering to determine whether I am a populist or a rebel with a mission. One thing I know though is that populists strive for division and are not unifiers. As a functionary and someone who looks at herself as an activist I have come to understand that [there are] populists and politicians who are typical Machiavellians as they deceive the masses in order to gain popularity and control of state resources.”

She said that Machiavelli's philosophy appears to have captured the souls of most post-colonial African leaders‚ including “the 2007 ANC national leadership lot in South Africa".

She said some political analysts have questioned her quest to form a new political party‚ warning that it was bound to fail like Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang‚ and Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s NFP which is in political turmoil and on the verge of disintegrating into oblivion.

But Khoza would have none of it‚ saying she did not consider Ramphele a failure but as someone who provided her an opportunity to learn from her mistakes.

“I also don’t subscribe to this school of thought that tells me that Zanele Magwaza-Msibi started the party and now it is in disarray. I believe that any woman who ticks on the political space which is defined by Niccolò Machiavelli deserves to be celebrated‚” she said.

She believes that she was persecuted in the ANC because she was a woman as there were other ANC MPs who raised the same issues as her but were not targeted. “It’s very hostile and some of you know that as a woman I said the same things as Pravin. I said the same things as Mondli Gungubele‚ but who was charged?”