POLITICS

Jury Is Out On Whether Makhosi Khoza's Proposed Party Is Viable

Some analysts say she should give it a go, others say she should look to join an existing party.

11/10/2017 12:11 SAST | Updated 11/10/2017 13:24 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Makhosi Khoza says she hasn't decided yet whether she will start a new political party.

Former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza says it is still early days when coming to a decision on whether to establish her own political party, but she is engaging with people at a grassroots level on how to go forward.

But analysts have mixed feelings about her proposed endeavour, some saying she has the potential to steal away a small portion of the ANC's voters, while others say that, like some smaller parties in the country, hers may be absorbed by one of the bigger players.

In an interview on Tuesday evening, Khoza said there was a disconnect between Parliament and civil society, which resulted in her deliberation over a new political landscape.

"We have a proportional representation system in South Africa. I would like to come with a creative way... which I cannot discuss with you now," she said.

"I have already been invited by communities of the North West and some of the people that have been approaching me for a political party. And I said to them listen, before we can even start this, I really want us to go down to the grassroots."

She said one needed to think of how to root a party in activism and not only in proportional representation.

"I'm still working on that, it's still early days, whether I'm going to be establishing the political party or not but when I do, I will tell you," she said.

University of Witwatersrand School of Governance professor Susan Booysen said it was difficult to say before the party was established whether it would work or not.

"[Khoza] has gained a high and favourable profile for her willingness to go against Zuma. She has the potential to start a credible smaller party, but probably not one that will oust the ANC," Booysen said.

She said if Khoza's proposed party was able to gain at least 5 percent of the national vote come 2019, it would be "disastrous" for the ANC.

However, politics expert Keith Gottschalk had different thoughts, saying Khoza's proposed party may be unlikely to succeed.

"We can use Cope [the Congress of the People] as a warning. The Economic Freedom Fighters also seems to have peaked at a ceiling... the usual fate of smaller parties is to be gobbled up by the bigger parties," Gottschalk said.

"It is a very daunting to task [to start a new party] and it would be much more intelligent to cozy up with a bigger party or coalition."