Opposition party leaders to hold historic national convention on 16 and 17 August – Press release

Issued jointly on behalf of:
The Democratic Alliance
The Inkatha Freedom Party
The Freedom Front Plus
The National Freedom Party
The United Independent Movement
The Spectrum National Party

3 July 2023 – The 2024 election presents an unprecedented opportunity for the people of South Africa to elect a new government that can steer our country out of the multiple crises it faces. For the very first time since 1994, the incumbent governing party is set to lose its majority when voters go to the polls next year.

The credible prospect of a change in government next year is cause for optimism. But it also places a profound responsibility on the shoulders of opposition parties that want to take South Africa into a fundamentally better direction. As the leaders of seven different political organisations, this is a responsibility we take seriously. We know that many citizens are anxious about the future. We know that they want certainty that the new national government that replaces ANC domination next year will be stable, viable and effective. Above all, they want opposition parties to provide a viable path to achieving the 50%+1 majority we need to form a government without the ANC, the EFF and their proxies that can deliver a prosperous future for all South Africans.

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It is with this great responsibility in mind that the leaders of our seven organisations have held a series of exploratory meetings over the past two months. The aim of these meetings has been to lay the foundation for a National Convention, where the leaders of opposition parties can come together to negotiate a pre-election Pact.

We are proud to report today that, through good faith and thorough engagement, party leaders have established sufficient common ground for this National Convention to take place on 16 and 17 August 2023. The Convention will be held at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park. This venue was deliberately chosen for its symbolic significance, being the same venue where the CODES negotiations took place that laid the foundation for South Africa’s transition to democracy. It is therefore fitting that we use this venue to host another historic first, where opposition party leaders will get together around one table to work out a common vision for a new government.

Party leaders have agreed on an agenda that will guide negotiations at the Convention to ensure that we emerge with the strongest possible agreement. Important items on the agenda include the values and principles that will guide a Pact government, formulation of a joint minimum programme of action, rules of engagement during the upcoming election campaign, and a formula to form a Cabinet after the 2024 election. These items are critical to forming a stable Pact government that can deliver.

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We wish to emphasise that every party leader that has engaged in this process so far has done so voluntarily, and it is for each party to ultimately decide whether it wants to formally join the Pact once negotiations have been concluded at the upcoming National Convention. There are no predetermined outcomes, and negotiations at the Convention will be robust, honest and constructive. The African Christian Democratic Party and Build One South Africa have attended various of our meetings as observers and are yet to decide if they will attend our national convention.

While there is still much work to be done, the people of South Africa can take great heart from the knowledge that, for the first time ever, opposition leaders are working in unison to provide hope and a new way forward for the country we all love.

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