Parliament Debutantes: Who to Watch?

May 7, 2019 (1 year ago)

The big splash the EFF made in 2014 is unlikely to ever be topped, but the three new parties making their parliament debuts in the sixth parliament have the potential to ruffle some feathers. Themba Godi’s APC and Agang bowed out and had to make space for these debutantes. Get to know the new entrants and tell us who you expect will have the biggest impact over the next five years:


While Patricia de Lille can hardly be described as a parliament newbie (she represented the PAC and the ID in parliament from 1994 until 2010), it is quite remarkable that a party launched just five months before an election managed to grab 2 seats in the National Assembly. After a very public and protracted spat with the DA at the tail end of 2018, Ms de Lille resigned as City of Cape Town mayor in October 2018 and launched GOOD on 2 December 2018 – signaling her intend to contest the 2019 national elections from the onset. The GOOD manifesto finds base in undoing apartheid spatial planning; job creation; ensuring social justice; and tackling climate change. She did recently say GOOD wants to ‘turn Parliament on its head’ and this coupled with a leader that has been labeled as ‘feisty’ and ‘fearless’, we can expect some fireworks from GOOD’s ‘Aunty Pat’.


The African Transformation Movement (ATM), formed a year ago with the backing of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ (SACMCC), defines its ideology as “conservatism and Christian democracy”. Although its leader and president is Vuyolwethu Zungula, it has been Mzwanele Manyi, the party’s chief of policy and strategy that has become the public face of the ATM. With an impressive CV in both government and business, Manyi often dominates news headlines (think his appearance before the Zondo Commission and acquisition of the previously Gupta-owned ANN7) and social media trends. Manyi who is number 14 on the party’s list, will not occupy one of the two seats the ATM won, but we expect the ATM to make some waves in Parliament in light of its controversial policy positions: advocating for the death penalty and support for corporal punishment.

Al Jama-ah

Al Jama-ah was formed in 2007 in a mosque in Lansdowne, Cape Town. Its leader, Ganief Hendricks will take the sole parliamentary seat the party won after 12 years in politics. The party aims to support Muslim interests and uphold shariah law. Recently Hendricks told the Daily Maverick that despite wanting to add Muslim representation into South African politics, he has faced a lot of opposition from Muslim leaders. He believes that these leaders refuse to support the party because they do not want to lose favour with bigger parties. In a bold move Al Jama-ah teamed up with the Progressive Student Movement (PSM) for its 2019 election campaign. It bore fruit and Al Jama-ah joins the PAC as Parliament’s ‘one-seat parties’ and we will keep an eye on its impact over the next five years.


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