Tshidi Madia13 March 2024 | 13:15

POLITRICKING | ‘I never left to start a branch of the DA’ - Maimane

Once dubbed the 'Barack Obama of Soweto', the second guest on season 4 of 'Politricking with Tshidi Madia' is BOSA leader Mmusi Maimane, who says his vision is not just to get a seat in Parliament.

POLITRICKING | ‘I never left to start a branch of the DA’ - Maimane

Build One SA (BOSA) leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Facebook/Build One SA

“One thing we must wrestle from the ANC [African National Congress] is the title leader of society,” says Build One South Africa (BOSA) leader Mmusi Maimane.

He carries the belief that a sensible movement that brings together progressive members of society, including civil society and political parties, is possible, as he puts forward his new organisation to contest in the upcoming elections.

Maimane, who was the leader of the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), during the last general elections, is now one of many newcomers taking on the most established organisations.

Last week, he announced that BOSA, despite last-minute attempts to challenge in the Constitutional Court the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) signature requirements for new parties seeking to participate in the 29 May national and provincial polls, had met all of the IEC’s requirements, and would be on both national and provincial ballots. 

“I don’t prepare for defeat; I am preparing for success. BOSA will do well in these elections. I am comfortable enough to know the vision we hold will carry us for generations to come,” he said on Politricking with Tshidi Madia, a politics podcast by Eyewitness News.

Maimane speaks of his bid to lead a new movement, instead of just joining parties that already exist, explaining that his vision is not just to get a seat in Parliament.

He also spoke of his party’s “jobs’ plan”, which was delivered in Johannesburg last month. 

BOSA insists it has done the work to deliver a job in every home, should it be voted to power by the electorate over the next five-year period.

The man once dubbed “the Barack Obama of Soweto” by some, admitted to learning some hard lessons, which saw him walk away from his role as federal leader of the DA. He used this to put together his current team, with time seemingly being his greatest ally following that departure. 

“The lesson is when you offer political trust, manage it in such a way that you are able to go over a long period of time - I guess the famous line, ‘if you want a friend in politics, get a dog’, rather than sometimes being overly reliant [resonates]. I think part of that is my own Christian faith that says, I trust, I love, I want to work with people because they want to do well. Some of that gets betrayed, and that gets hard,” he said.

He spoke of that period being so difficult that he at times “despised going to work.”

But Maimane may find himself working with some of those who betrayed his trust, if the current proliferation of parties in the political space has anything to do with it.

Pollsters are suggesting some provinces, including national government, might go under coalition governments, very much like many other municipalities and metros in the country. This has given rise to several blocs, including a Multi-Party Charter made up of the DA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF+), and several other, smaller parties.

While he hasn’t completely written this off, he says these are discussions that must wait for the voters.

Maimane also scoffed at those who wrote him off, including Madia, saying they are too obsessed with sprints - forgetting that politics is a marathon.

“I didn't want to start a branch of the DA. I never wanted to do that. I in fact told them… they said no, let's gather together, let's create a thing. I said, I don't want to start a branch of the DA. You'll remember when I left, I said politics is not working,” he explained.

He said he called on people to have courage in their convictions, as opposed to being paid to join different political parties.

Maimane, in making an argument for his staying power, said the issues facing South Africans today would remain.

He said he would fight these issues outside just as he fought them inside the National Assembly. 

“We are trying to create an environment where politics isn’t just left to politicians,” he said.