Experts foresaw the end for CSN in the elections due to lack of structure and voter traction.

It was no surprise that former FirstRand Group chair Roger Jardine’s political start-up, Change Starts Now (CSN), will not make it to the elections, says an expert.

Lecturer at North-West University Dominic Maphaka said it was bound to happen that CSN would not contest the polls.

“A glance at the newly emerged parties demonstrates that they do not have a clearly defined ideological outlook, hence their policies bring no novelty to the left and right of established parties.

“Arguably, this is a good development that sets a precedent for potential or upcoming parties to have a clear ideological outlook and policies,” he said.

No acceptable alternative to ANC

Jardine said in a statement on X that independent research has shown that 41% of voters will still vote for the ANC because there was still no acceptable alternative.

“Unfortunately, the recent Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling and the barriers imposed on newly established political parties means CSN, like several other parties, faces a prejudicial logistical timetable to qualify for the ballot,” he said.

The party, which was launched almost three months ago, cited a recent ConCourt ruling as part of the reason for this decision.

ALSO READ: ‘Barriers’ force Change Starts Now not to contest elections, but willing to back other parties

This related to signature quota required by the Electoral Amendment Act.

According to the Act, independent candidates and political parties need to submit to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) a list with names, identity numbers and signatures of registered voters to meet the eligibility criteria for contesting the elections.

Before the ConCourt ruling, they needed to secure signatures equivalent to 15% of the votes necessary to attain a parliamentary seat in the preceding elections.

However, only 1 000 signatures are required for independent candidates to contest an election, after the apex court ordered the amendment of this provision of the Electoral Amendment Act.

Jardine’s withdrawal predictable

Political analyst Piet Croucamp said Jardine’s withdrawal from the election was predictable.

“He doesn’t have enough of a party structure or democratic requirements in place,” he said.

“There is simply no traction for a political party with the type of identity that he portrays. It is already difficult to convince a sceptical voting public of the extent to political parties that represent their real interest.”

Croucamp said it was difficult to establish yourself in an already congested market because there had to be something special and something different about you.

READ MORE: Corporate money vs. political reality: Dissecting the failures of CSN

“There is nothing that he said that either confused, or surprised anybody,” he said.

“There was really nothing coming from him. He was never a real candidate and his political ideas were a bit of a fabrication of business interests that thought they could advance and combine their ideals about a free market and liberation in history.

“They thought somewhere in the middle there was a little sweet spot he could make some political hay, but he was really never a candidate.”

Maphaka said Jardine should have never tried politics, never hung around for so long and never have been considered.

Resistance against dominant political parties

Another political analyst, Khanya Vilakazi, said what SA is witnessing, is proportional representation was good for 1994 and having many parties that mushroom towards the elections because of the low threshold of political participation, does divide any form of resistance against the dominant political parties.

Vilakazi said Jardine overplayed his hand – just as many others have.

“Jardine was only known in Gauteng and parts of the Eastern Cape, but if you take him to Limpopo or KwaZulu-Natal, nobody knows who he is,” said Vilakazi.

“In South African politics, it is who leads the party that generates the votes in the election. These people are not known by the common man so it becomes extremely difficult for their political parties to get a strong foothold in any election.”

Vilakazi said evidence of this stems from the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

“Without [former president Jacob] Zuma’s endorsement of MK, they wouldn’t have such a strong hold,” he said.

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