Monday, November 3, 2008

SADC: A better name than 'Shikota'

News is that the breakaway party has a name. It will be called the SA Democratic Congress. Writes Gaye Davis of Independent Newspapers: 'Two parties, two tunes'

Organisers are expected to register the party, expected to be called the South African Democratic Congress (SADC), with the Independent Electoral Commission today.

I like the sound of this name, even if it does resemble a certain regional block (it will have to be pronounced differently to "Sadeck" to avoid confusion) and it's important to have the words "Democratic" and "Congress" in there. Although it will be crucial for the new group to be able to lay claim to the struggle and its traditions, it is better to not be so closely affiliated with the ANC brand as it could just look derivative. So SADC hits the right note.

On the question of leadership:

The decision on the new party's name was taken behind closed doors at a meeting of the convention's steering committee, where an interim leadership structure was also decided.

It sees former defence minister and ANC chair Mosiuoa Lekota, the man who spearheaded the convention initiative, emerging as its chairman.

Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, although widely tipped to lead the party, is deputy chair.

One of the concerns is on who will lead this organisation. Shilowa is urbane, has a good govenance record and is charming with the press. He also led the media conference yesterday and it was speculated - by Steven Friedman specifically - that the former Guateng Premier would lead the group. This no longer seems to be the case, although it was Lekota who catalysed the rebels in the first place so it shouldn't be too surprising. My hope is that the new movement doesn't get riven apart by the petty ambitions of a few.

It is also notable how the name was chosen. At the end of the conference several provincial delegations were clustered around the convention hall drafting proposals. Although the steering committee had the final say there was still an attempt to have a participatory process in place. Hopefully such practices will be codified and institutionalised in the near future.


  1. Great coverage of the convention, David... keep it up :)

  2. Thanks, I've got some more material so hopefully I can put some more posts together...

  3. sjoe, this post is now completely irrelevant. The steam-roller of history tramples the immediacy of online journalism.