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On May 29 millions of South Africans will cast ballots to elect 400 representatives to the National Assembly. New Black Nationalists (NBN) urge South African voters to consider supporting independent candidate Anele Mda.  

As a network of activists that provisions Black liberation forces in the U.S. and the Black Diaspora with analytical products, endorsing electoral candidates is not our customary practice.  

However, these are not ordinary times. In the U.S., white ethno- nationalists plotting to establish an American Apartheid regime may come to power in November's 2024 elections. In Africa's most industrialized and well-resourced nation, NBN's reading suggests the African National Congress's 30-year majority party reign in parliament may end on May 29. 

Whether the ANC maintains its majority or enters a coalition with the EFF, the Inkatha Freedom Party, or even the Democratic Alliance (DA), it seems unlikely Mandela's party can overcome the country's 32.9% unemployment rate, the world's third-highest crime rate, chronic load shedding of its power grid, and the ANC's propensity for political corruption. 

At some point a spark is required, a course correction must be embarked upon, and raw courage must be summoned to reverse engineer South Africa's slide toward chaos and dysfunction. 

That pivot or rupture begins with electing dedicated public servants like Anele Mda. Born into a family of academics, business, and politics in Bizana, Anele not only speaks plain, hard, unambiguous, and principled truths but "does the work," as we say in the local vernacular.   

When Mda was eighteen she created education programs for HIV awareness and prevention. As a single mother, Mda understands the struggles of lower-income South Africans, having spent two years on the streets with her son. To complete her matric and support her son, Mda took on domestic work to afford school fees, uniforms, and food. 

She went on to launch the "Creative Young Women and Growing Girls" organization. Mda's continuing commitment to women's issues is part of her recently released Ten Point Manifesto which includes addressing issues of femicide.   

In 2011, former President Obama recognized her among the "Emerging African Young Leaders in Public Office." Bookended by nineteen years of corporate and government work, Anele was an executive committee member of the ANC Youth League. 

In 2008 Anele left the ANC as part of a breakaway group that helped form the Congress of the People Party (COPE). She served as the organization's youth league leader and an MP. In the 2009 general election, COPE captured 7.4% of the vote and 30 seats in parliament. But a factional dispute led to the party's swift demise. By the 2014 elections, COPE retained three seats in the National Assembly.  

Mda had her struggles with COPE as well. In a Mail and Guardian interview, she recalled "COPE announced its arrival as champions of democracy and our Constitution, but it was worse to see the same party unable to live up to the very reason of its formation. Manipulation, blackmail, and exploitation of people’s innocence, as well as loyalty to the party, made COPE look more like a mafia club than a political party."   

Mda parted ways with COPE and returned to the ANC whose youth leader was then Julius Malema. Although she parted company with the ANC a second time, she was never a quitter. Despite her disenchantment with political parties, when President Ramaphosa signed the Electoral Amendment Bill in 2023 allowing independent candidates to run in national and provincial elections, Mda was ready to run. 

Anele is only one of five independents to qualify for the national assembly elections. But even the perfunctory ceremony Anele participated in to sign the "Code of Conduct" pledge in April with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) turned into an edgy confrontation and national media event. When Mda went to sign her pledge, her photo was not displayed on the conference room's big screen like the other political parties and their candidates.   

Mda objected, saying "Where is my photo registered with the IEC to be on the ballot? Other political parties have been having their logos, where is my photo?" Her request for an IEC response was criticized by some as petty and by others as grandstanding. Neither charge was true. Shortly afterward, the IEC responded to her request for an explanation, and other independent candidates like Don Plato demanded the IEC have all their photos displayed. 

“These elections are about the people of South Africa, their aspirations and dignity. I am contesting as an independent candidate, so people are going to vote for my face.” said Mda. The IEC apologized to the independent candidates and informed them their photos would appear on the paper ballots for the election. 

Mda is not one to mince words. In 2022, a special parliamentary panel issued a finding that "preliminary evidence" indicated President Ramaphosa violated his oath of office after investigating a criminal complaint that he breached money laundering and foreign currency control laws. It was alleged that Ramaphosa concealed $4 million on his farm from the sale of buffaloes to a Sudanese businessman. The buffaloes in question were still on Ramaphosa's farm two years later.

At a 2023 parliamentary session, the 230 ANC-member majority voted down a motion to open impeachment proceedings against Ramaphosa. In response, Mda said, "A person who's voting the ANC is a person who is an accomplice, who has taken a stand of declaring themselves an accomplice to the rot that is happening.” It was a strongly worded statement, but Mda is drawing a moral line in the sand.     

Speaking of her former party she further asserted, “They are not about serving the interest of the people. They are about serving the party, its members, and its interests, but at the expense of using the resources that are provided for by the power that comes with the vote.” 

In a Podcast interview with Mike Siluma of South Africa's Times Live, Mda broadened her critique to other South African political parties.   

"Imagine being in the DA and sitting and saying there’s an intentional embrace of Africans in the DA....Imagine me going to an EFF where I am going to be led by a demagogue that does not respect any woman leader." 

Mda also possesses a robust streak of populism. Speaking of South Africa's financial sector she noted, "The time of banks remaining an entity on their own and insisting on remaining 'lily white' must come to an end. South Africa is an investment where every single citizen has their own share because it is funded by taxpayers therefore it must benefit everyone”

Mda is not naive to the facts of political life in South Africa's solar system of captured political parties and their relations with the country's financial and business elites. "I am underfunded because I am not captured," she observed. 

Three decades after the much-celebrated fall of the country's Apartheid system the captains of business, finance, and South Africa's agricultural sector remain in the hands of the country's white minority.       

​In Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh's stunning 2021 publication "The New Apartheid," the author makes a compelling and fact-based argument that "Apartheid did not die: It was privatized." Mpofu-Walsh's thesis posits the following.  

•Apartheid was marketized because privilege is now policed by price rather than prose. 

•The market, not the state, now dictates the boundaries of opportunity. 

•By replacing legal barriers with financial ones, segregation is transformed from a public burden to a source of private profit.

•Apartheid was denationalized because it moved from centralized state control to decentralized private control. 

•Denationalization unbundled and decentralized apartheid, consigning its control to a diverse network of private actors with private goals.

•Apartheid was digitized because digital technology and personal computing often reinforce the culture of surveillance and toxic racial categorization upon which apartheid was built.

​Equally as astonishing, today in South Africa whites comprising 7.3% of the population control 46% of the land. After 30 years in power, President Ramaphosa announced in 2023 "Through redistribution, around 25% of farmland in our country is now owned by black South Africans, bringing us closer to achieving our target of 30% by 2030."

Is it any wonder that the country with the largest gap in income disparity on the planet is South Africa? 

As an independent, Mda is opening the door to a discussion that goes to the heart of the fundamental shortcomings of South Africa's predominantly Black political parties to develop a consensus agenda to eradicate "The New Apartheid" state Mpofu-Walsh eloquently articulated in his thesis.    

​Is the ANC's target of 30% of South Africa's farmland being owned by Blacks by 2030 acceptable? Is the EFF's program to fast-track land distribution through its redistribution program to transfer 50% of the land to black people within the first five years a better plan? And what of the Black First Land First (BLF) policy of “expropriation without compensation” of white-owned land directly stolen from Africans? Is that a workable policy? At what political costs could it be achieved?

​If future policy debates are over land policy rather than investigations into EFF's questionable practices with the VBS Mutual Bank, Zuma's arms deals, or the BLF's relationships with the Guptas and rumored attacks on news reporters, then perhaps some meaningful policy compromises could be hammered out and passed. 

As things currently stand, the trajectory of South Africa's elections system and political parties as vital institutions to sustain the state are not sustainable.  

In this light, one can ask if allowing independent candidates to stand for national assembly and provincial elections has expanded citizen participation and widened the pool of leadership choices.

Have independent candidates put a positive charge in an electoral system rapidly losing legitimacy as an institution to guide state affairs, or have they essentially been shills of the established parties?  

Put differently, was the Electoral Amendment Bill Ramaphosa signed in 2023 simply a minimalist quick fix to remedy the 1998 Electoral Act deemed unconstitutional

On May 29 South Africa's electorate will answer these questions. But one thing is certain: Anele Mda's footprint has been placed on all these issues. As was previously mentioned she fought and won the battle with the IEC for the eleven independent candidates to have their photos on the regional paper ballots. She didn't stop there.

Anele stated in no uncertain terms that the IEC failed independent candidates. First, she criticized the IEC for not providing critical election information to the candidates. 

"We have had to depend on the people who are naturally curious, who have been chasing information and we have had to dig on our own so that we ensure that our constituencies who follow our journeys are able to know what the new developments around the issue of voting and all complexities that came with the introduction of independent candidates."

Second, Anele addressed the issue of campaign financing. "My campaign," she said "is funded by my own personal resources which are stretched and as a result, I have embarked on a public fundraising and donation campaign to ensure that I fully acquire the necessary election material."

Political parties, however, receive public financing through the Political Party Funding Act of 2018. Funds are allocated on a proportional and equitable basis by the Represented Political Party Fund (RPPF) and the Multi-Party Democracy Fund (MPDF). The RPPF provides funding to political parties based on their representation in Parliament, while the MPDF supports parties that are not represented but participate in elections.  

According to Daily Maverick reporter Victoria O'Regan, former boxing champion Lovemore Ndou is the only independent candidate running for the national assembly and provincial legislative seats who has been "able to raise funds."

Thus, when Anele Mda said, "I am underfunded because I am not captured," that should mean something to South Africa's voters who want and deserve a clean, effective, and accountable government. Independent candidates like Mda are denied public funds for their campaigns on the one hand, and she refuses to become the captive of elite special interest money on the other.     

Despite all the obstacles Mda has confronted, she has emerged as the driving force of South Africa's 2024 first "independent candidate experience." 

Referring to the role independent candidates will play in the 2024 election, Anele Mda boldly stated “We are the ones who will set the agenda.  Political parties will be the ones running after us, not the other way around.” 

By her example, his willingness to challenge the IEC, the entrenched political parties, and heteropatriarchal domination Mda has set a standard worthy of emulation. 

With the new allocation of seats for the National Assembly, South Africa's two-tier system divides the 400 seats between 200 regional seats, and 200 compensatory seats. The new law only allows independent candidates to run for the 200 regional seats which are also contested by political parties. 

In the 2019 elections, Gauteng Province was awarded 48 National Assembly regional seats.

The ANC won 53.2% of the votes and captured 26 seats. 
The DA won 24.5% of the votes and captured 12 seats. 
The EFF won 13.5% of the votes and captured 7 seats. 
The VF Plus won 3.8% of the votes and captured 2 seats.
The IFP won 1.0% of the votes and captured 1 seat.   

By NBN's rough calculations Anele would likely need to win at least 50,000 votes and place no lower than fifth place in the Gauteng Province National Assembly race to win a seat in parliament.

Come what may on May 29, South African voters can send an unmistakable message to the elite parties that they want the country's ship of state to steer a new course by electing Anele Mda and candidates like her.  

Anele represents the symbol and the substance of a new South African future. We wish her well and look forward to the May 29 elections.                   


The Vesey Republic
Black Nationalist - Fanonist - Womanist 
No.     Party                                                             Seats                  Percent
Polling from the London Economist 
May 25, 2024
“We are the ones who will set the agenda.
 Political parties will be the ones running 
after us, not the other way around.” 
On independent candidates in South Africa
​Anele Mda
Anele Mda - Gauteng  

Anele Mda has been a social and gender activist for 18 years and was one of the country’s youngest MPs in 2009.

1) Why are you standing as an independent rather than with a party?

I believe that by standing as an independent candidate, I can make a meaningful difference in the lives of my fellow South Africans and contribute to a stronger, more inclusive democracy for all.

Being an independent candidate also presents me with a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the government and the people. By running independently, I have the freedom to prioritise the interests and concerns of my constituents without being bound by party politics or agendas.

2) What is the main policy issue you will address if elected?

Abolition of the tender system in government procurement. This is not just a necessary step, but a crucial one in the fight against corruption and for fostering a more inclusive and fair economic environment in South Africa.

The tender system, as it stands, has perpetuated a cycle of cronyism and nepotism, where contracts are often awarded based on personal relationships rather than merit or capability.

Furthermore, the tender system has been a breeding ground for corruption, with kickbacks, bid rigging, and other illicit practices. This not only undermines the trust of taxpayers but also diverts much-needed resources away from essential services and projects, ultimately hindering the country’s development and progress.

Advocating for the abolition of the tender system is not about eliminating opportunities for businesses but rather about creating a more transparent, competitive, and merit-based procurement process. By exploring alternative models such as open bidding, performance-based contracting, and supplier diversity programs, we can ensure that government contracts are awarded fairly and efficiently, benefiting a broader spectrum of businesses and stimulating economic growth.

3) Based on their manifestos and track records, where applicable, which party or parties would you consider entering a coalition with?

Throughout my engagement and participation in Parliament, I would maintain my objective independence with no standing agreement that ties me to any political party but rather cooperate on an issue basis.

4) How is your campaign being funded?

My campaign is funded by my own personal resources which are stretched and as a result, I have embarked on a public fundraising and donation campaign to ensure that I fully acquire the necessary election material.

5) Is your funding publicly declared?

I, unfortunately, have no funding to declare because I have no funding.
Elections 2024: What independent candidates have to say

We put five questions to each of the five independent candidates

15 April 2024 | By GroundUp Staff
Gauteng Province Regional Ballot 
Gauteng Province 2019 National Assembly Election Results