Tshidi Madia24 April 2024 | 9:13

POLITRICKING | Meet the independents vying for provincial legislature & National Assembly seats

For the first time in the country’s 30 years of democracy, at least five independent candidates will be on the list contesting for seats in the National Assembly, and six others for space in provincial legislatures. Eyewitness News sat down with three candidates on this week's episode of 'Politricking with Tshidi Madia'.

POLITRICKING | Meet the independents vying for provincial legislature & National Assembly seats

From L to R: Independent candidates Tshepo Mogano, Anele Mda, and Sesing Ramotswabodi. Pictures: X, Facebook

When South Africans take to the polls on 29 May 2024, they will not only be greeted by a long list of political parties to pick from, but for the first time in the country’s 30 years of democracy, at least five independent candidates will be on the list contesting for seats in the National Assembly.

Six others will be vying for space in the provincial legislatures.

For these women and men, different reasons are the driving forces that led to them ticking boxes to ensure that their faces appear on the ballot. Three of them, Anele Mda, Sesing Ramotswabodi, and Tshepo Mogano, joined Politricking with Tshidi Madia, Eyewitness News’ flagship political podcast, to reflect on their journey into the unknown.

“Look at the promises that have been made, versus what's happened, it does not make sense. You look at the collapse of local government, look at the collapse of public health, you look at the infiltration of people from outside in our townships, the high rate of unemployment in our townships…” said Ramotswabodi as he listed the many wrongs in the Free State that made him want to run for a seat in the provincial legislature.

For him, the outrage had to be turned into something more constructive, which he now says he uses to try wooing supporters away from the African National Congress (ANC), a party that he had been a member of until now.

His frustration is echoed by Mogano, a former soldier, whose vision includes a stronger military, a police force that will be respected, borders that are fully functioning, and corruption being treated as treasonous.

Mogano’s militant view is one he hopes will see tighter movement in and around Gauteng.

He is seeking to join the provincial legislature in the country’s economic hub. Not only that, he wants to become the country’s number one citizen, calling for policing at all entry and exit points in the province.

“Imagine having a house without a fence. I don't think you stay in a house without a fence. Let me take you deeper… imagine a house without a fence, and people just coming into your house, taking out French polony and taking cheese out of your fridge and eating while your kids are starving in the bedroom,” he said.

“This is not a Holiday Inn, we need to protect our country so our children can inherit a better South Africa,” he added.

Mogano said he had no issues with African migrants in the province but was determined to control their movements in and out of the province.

He further believes his role in the legislature will mean he becomes its “whistleblower”.

“I am praying for the independent candidates that are going to go into office and become really proper snitches because they don't have to [toe] the party line,” he said.

This he said was owed to not being attached to any political parties, promising to expose those who will try to buy his views or votes.

And while they praise one another for daring to put their hands up, they seem to take a dim view of the electorate, with some arguing that the voters seem to be hypnotised or gullible when it comes to promises made by the governing ANC.

Mda elaborated on what she said was micromanagement and the political blackmail of the electorate by the incumbent. She labelled this phenomenon a negative PR exercise by the governing ANC.

“To say all that you have currently as a South African is through the commitment of the ANC, servicing us, the people of South Africa, and it will be attributed as though it is out of the goodness of the heart of the ANC, and nothing is spoken about the fact that all these things that the ANC would claim to be are, in fact, made possible by you and me, the people who are taxpayers in this country,” she said.

Mda said this had also made the youth less proactive in playing their role in the country’s democracy.

She does believe there is some change, with citizens now becoming more vigilant about their democracy.

The former Congress of the People (COPE) youth leader, who is now hoping to represent her constituency in the National Assembly and also refuted the idea that being an independent automatically meant a lonely journey ahead.

She describes it as “fear-mongering” from established parties due to seeing new entrants in the political space.

“The issue of being an individual or a person who comes with no backing of maybe other members of Parliament that are associated with me, it doesn't even make me feel as though I will be walking a lonely journey, because Parliament is a House of activity. And it's always about the issues that one is permitted in dealing with,” she said.

Mda has already made up her mind on where and how she could be most effective in the National Assembly.