De Beer: The dark & dirty games of Election ’24…

“…there are people that are rising and there are people that are falling…the dirty games are coming out…It’s a nasty campaign, it’s a dark campaign, and I predict in the next three days it’s going to get worse.” These are the words of Neil de Beer, the President of the United Independent Movement (UIM). In this interview with BizNews, he dissects the current “climb” in popularity of the African National Congress (ANC), the disintegration of the top structure of former President Jacob Zuma’s MK and his daughter Duduzile’s move to secure a “dictatorship”; the secret and not-so-secret coalition talks; and the many parties that are “promising and writing checks in their name that their bodies can’t cash”. De Beer warns of the impact of “international influence” on the outcome of the election, saying the party that “carries the most influence from outside will win and will then govern for the next five years with a huge sentiment of 60% influence globally, but 40% from the world masters”.

Sign up for your early morning brew of the BizNews Insider to keep you up to speed with the content that matters. The newsletter will land in your inbox at 5:30am weekdays. Register here.


Watch here

Listen here


Summary of the interview

In an interview with Chris Steyn, Neil de Beer, President of the United Independent Movement (UIM), discussed the upcoming South African elections. He expressed exhaustion but excitement after a long campaign, emphasizing the fluid political landscape and the significant rise of the African National Congress (ANC) in recent polls, which he predicts will achieve between 45% and 48% of the vote. De Beer criticized the factionalism within the ANC, noting disintegration in the MK Party and disputes involving Jacob Zuma. He also highlighted the DA’s attempts to gain support and the fluctuating fortunes of other parties like Rise Mzansi.

De Beer mentioned rumours about potential coalitions, including talks between the DA and ANC and between EFF and certain ANC members, suggesting that the political environment is rife with speculation and strategic manoeuvring. He reflected on the stability within the Multi-Party Charter (MPC) and outlined three post-election strategies: forming a government of national unity, negotiating with parties aligned with MPC policies, or becoming a unified opposition if they fail to secure a majority.

UIM’s strategy focuses on accountability and maintaining an independent stance against forming coalitions with the EFF, ANC, or MK-connected parties. De Beer emphasized UIM’s commitment to transparency and grassroots campaigning. He criticized other parties for making unrealistic promises and highlighted UIM’s efforts in local governance. De Beer concluded with a personal reflection on his resilience, having battled cancer, and his hope for a united and prosperous South Africa, urging voters to choose leaders who genuinely work for the people’s betterment.

Extended transcript of the interview  ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Chris Steyn (00:00.456)

This week, South Africans go to the polls to vote in the most important election since 1994. We get an update from Neil de Beer, the President of the United Independent Movement, a party in the Multi-Party Charter. Welcome, Neil.

Neil De Beer (00:16.153)

Good morning. I think the lines underneath the eye means tired, exhausted, but so excited. Three more days after a very long campaign, after so much emotion, but I believe that we are nearly there. So yeah, good morning. Chris had my three coffees already.

Chris Steyn (00:36.648)

So have I. Neil, last time we spoke, the political landscape was still so fluid that it was too close to call. Would you like to venture a prediction on the outcome of the election now?

Neil De Beer (00:53.113)

Yeah, I think there’s dream and there’s reality. I think a person always dreams at a level where you want to be and you focus as to the points of the percentages that polls are giving and yourself. So as a president of a new party in this election, but not a new party in government, we are wanting to reach a certain goal. We have a target in mind, but the reality is dawning very quickly. I think not just on our party, but on everyone. So at this current moment, I’m seeing again the climb of the ANC. There’s no doubt you can see in a couple of days that the statistics have come out that they are actually now climbing. I realised and everybody that said to me that the ANC is going to get below 40 are in La La Land. I’ve told that to you before. I’ve said above 45, between 45…And if 48 is their top seeding, so be it. But they are definitely climbing in the last couple of days. This is the sentiment of the t-shirt, the Kentucky and the moering into stadiums to create that facade. Very interesting, though, is that it seems that the MK Party in its top structure is disintegrating. Not only this huge slash on the losing of the court case of JZ saying that he cannot become a member of parliament and the utter rubbish now being spun by his henchmen to say that he still has a stance. This is not true and as we stand today, locus standi he is not allowed to. So there’s rumblings and obviously the DA machine marching on trying to garnish as much support as what it can. But there are people that are rising and there are people that are falling. I see Rise Mzansi took a bit of heat this week, and being told that they are in actual fact something which they didn’t say. So Chris, just in conclusion, the dirty games are coming out, the last kicks of horses before the death, and that we can expect. It’s a nasty campaign, it’s a dark campaign, and I predict in the next three days it’s going to get worse.

Chris Steyn (03:09.512)

Now, Neil, you are a man who at heart has always paid great heed to intelligence and not to polls. And I know you know so much that you never say, but would you be willing to tell us who has been having secret coffee dates with whom and for how long?

Neil De Beer (03:30.233)

Yeah, I think being a person that comes out of the intelligence services, I think we always used to say intelligence is categorised: it starts with a rumour, it then becomes a story, it then gets turned into information, and only when verified do you put the stamp of intelligence on it. So there’s a long process. I said to you in my last talks, it’s not whom is going to talk with whom, it is who is talking to whom. Now, I’ve always said that there’s been a huge rumour that the DA is talking to the ANC. It’s been repeated and people always use that cliché smoke-fire. I say kill it when it’s smoking because when it’s fire, you need a bigger brigade. So I got sent this morning by a flurry of people, funny enough, trying to share intelligence that Helen Zille has said categorically that they will form a government with the ANC if it has to happen that the MPC who they are part of does not get the 50 plus one and that when we as the MPC fails they will rather form government with the ANC than allowing a MK and EFF government. Now Chris when someone says that to me it then has gone from story, rumour, info, intelligence. This is just a confirmation of what everybody has been saying. So I can say to you, I have no photographic or verbal or taped evidence, but it’s obvious. I mean, you know, people don’t have to be so naive. Is that a prerogative of the DA? Yes, it is. 

But as I’ve said so many times, there’s also discussions, I think, between the EFF and certain members of the ANC. Now if you look at that, there’s also been that rumour, story, info, intelligence, that a guy like Julius Malema does not at all respect Cyril Ramaphosa. He does not get on with him, they do not sit around the fire, and they can’t even face each other to make as if they do. But we do know that he has got kind of a sense of more debatable option with Paul Mashatile Now this is also not new, as you know, there’s been hints that if Cyril is out of the way and Paul Mashatile, who is the obvious person to take over, should take over the presidency, then no doubt the ANC and EFF coalition would be on the table. And that’s a fact. So there you’ve got another scenario. 

We can’t totally annihilate MK. Because at the end of the day, it is this mass drumming, this huge escalation of the rise of MK. And obviously this rumor that Duduzile is in actual fact the master. But now we’ve got to be careful with the liberation movements, Chris. The fall of Robert Gabriel Mugabe was in actual fact at the end of the day. Not that the people of Zimbabwe did not want to keep the old man in place. No, it was the fact that his wife, Grace, took over and wanted to run ZanuPF. And she was heading her way to build up this huge scenario around her to put her as the president. Now this is the problem we are facing within MK. There’s a person there who is not the actual person, but the daughter of, who’s now securing herself in such a fashion, rumour has it, in a massive dictatorship of forcing her way there. And that could be stifling now, the actual unrest within that party, but that they’ve got numbers, sure. Will they get to the prescribed previously guesstimate of eight? No, I think they’re going to get far less than that. But maybe as kingmaker in KwaZulu-Natal? Absolutely. So these are the things that are happening, not will be, they are. And that’s categorically how it stands.

Chris Steyn (08:09.832)

OK, so where does this leave the MPC, especially after the election?

Neil De Beer (08:15.641)

Chris, I think just from our side, we had our last MPC meeting of the leadership last week. We’ve met for the past year and more, every second Thursday. I was quite inspired sitting in that meeting and everybody, and I must tell you, there was a conclusion of spirit. Each leader had something to say, and it was tremendously positive. We have weathered the storm. And in actual fact, Chris, I will say this and say it again and again. The fact that that amount of leaders of some of the biggest parties in this country, factually, sitting around the table for a year, sticking to it, committing to it, and in the final, can I call it, 20 meters of the 100, we reaffirmed to each other our commitment to the finality of this race. But when this is done, it’s not over. When this is done, it is not the end of the collaboration of various parties more than what is currently in the MPC most likely, is that we will then get together and make two choices after this election. 

Choice one. If we won 50 plus 1, we have 14 days to form a government of national unity between the people that are part of the MPC. Choice 2, if we don’t make it, then there is a secondary option that we will see what we are short within percentage. And it’s always been our declaration that the people that align themselves to the conditions, to the rules, to the perspectives and the policies of the MPC are absolutely welcome to speak to us. There are indications. There were people like Rise Mzansi, like BOSA, like all other parties who democratically decided they will not join us during the period before the election, but did not close the door after the election. So that’s the second phase. If we fall short, we can still talk to parties who align themselves to our policy. And then the third one. The one that I fear that would become reality, the third one, is that we don’t make 50 plus one. We then have to get together and say to each other, will we now form a united front, as can I call it, a unified, blocked opposition in parliament? And these are the options that stare us as the MPC in the face.

Chris Steyn (11:08.552)

But Neil, I know you’ve never been afraid to go it alone. And if you have to, I’m sure you will. So what is the strategy of the United Independent Movement going into this election and beyond?

Neil De Beer (11:19.961)

I think the strategy is clever. It’s clever. It’s a very clear one. You know, I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer. I dream a lot. I have success with a lot and I fail at some. But with the UIM, I have absolutely stuck. I’m absolutely focused. More grey, less hair. Gives you a different perspective. Fighter, I’m a fighter. I think you know that because I’ve never stopped. I think since birth, apparently when I came and got born, I’m still looking for the doctor who hit me on my bum. So I will never give up. I think there’s three reasons that I stick to the UIF. We are currently in local government. We make absolutely headway in all the current local government places we are. Myself in Cape Town, we stand strong. We are one voice, but we cause a thunderous wave. In Ekurhuleni, we absolutely resist and keep the people accountable. And in Joburg, Fatima Abdool, my vice president, keeps on fighting the fight for the voices. So the UIM is clear. We are going to Parliament. If it’s one, two or three. Grace of God, five. That’s not realistic, Chris. So if we get one, two or three in this national election, my voice has always been a voice of accountability, ons gaan vir julle moer; you’ve got to understand this. I’m going to sit in that parliament every day and I will protest, contest and get up to say what is wrong in this country. Hulle gaan my moet uitgooi because sometimes the protests might turn into a little bit of a revolution. I’m not going to sit there and be bullied by anybody. If there’s a murder in this country, If there’s a rape in this country, if there’s a looting in this country, if there’s theft, you can ma take it, even if I’m alone, I’m going to bash them and bash them hard. 

We cannot promise a house. We cannot promise a road. We cannot promise the completion of the economy.  We are not in that position. So when you say give you a house, give you a street, give you a job, it’s a lie. And many parties, Chris, are promising and writing checks in their name that their bodies can’t cash. 

And I’ll get to that now, if I may, because we’ve got to talk about what happens if a PA government, an ANC government, a DA government happens, because I want to say that. But in this, the UIM is critically clear. We will not form a government with an EFF, ANC, MK or connected cabal party. And if one of us who is in coalition with us does so, we walk Chris. We walk, we keep our torch and candle alive because I am not speaking on my own. I have many who agree with the UIM that that is the conditions that we have. Rather stand alone and fight on because we need change. If this is another five years, another 10. They say, Africa is a tough country, but you’ve got to out tough it. And remember Chris, a vulture is a patient bird.

Chris Steyn (14:55.208)

In that sense, UIM at least is not a party that will have to go back to its voters to get a different mandate than the one it had previously been given, Neil. So let’s talk about all the empty promises that have been made and how the people or the parties that made those promises are going to look in a new government.

Neil De Beer (15:17.465)

Chris, people are going to get hurt. People are going to get hurt. I think political rhetoric, political nuance, political debate and political discussion is always that thing of promises and we’re going to deliver and all that hogwash. But at the end of the day, no one has kept these political parties accountable because it doesn’t even seem the courts at times are keeping people accountable. The people definitely are not. So you need a party like a UIM that has no fear, that carries no favour, that has been funded by no one but ourselves, penny for penny, that has put up our eight posters, that has looked at it and said we’ll rather give people food, and sort out social contest than put a poster of 30 million on that. Because what do you do with a poster afterwards? Eat it. So yesterday I must tell you, Chris, I was driving down a road and there was a person that’s homeless and his whole house is built from political posters…

Chris Steyn (16:33.704)

Built on promises.

Neil De Beer (16:42.777)

Oh absolutely. But the fact was it wasn’t just one party’s poster. There was Herman’s face, Cyril’s face, there was Gayton’s face. The only one that wasn’t there was me because we didn’t have enough posters. 

Chris Steyn (16:53.224)

That’s epic!

Neil De Beer (17:12.825)

But the point of view, this is if there was ever a caption of what happens to political parties, this was it. And I’m sorry, I had to drive past it at a speed. I would have stopped and taken the picture and said, this is the end result of political parties. They become homeless. 

So I am saying, if you look at an ANC government, it’s not going to change. They can’t change. They are entrenched in this cloud of skullduggery, of power play, of creating hope without substance about people that loot, that steal, and that have become bigger than, not all of them, but they are there. And this has become systemic. So don’t expect a change to come within the ANC. 

If the EFF rules with coalition or on itself, it’s the button of self-destruction on this country’s final bid to regain its economic prowess and its stability of foreign direct investment because they will have to totally change their constitution. And I think that’s why Julius’s kid name, except for mine, Frikkie Malema is absolutely that he’s a flip-flopper. He flip-flops. So you are going to get an inconsistent, nationalistic, socialistic ideology with an idea of taking instead of giving. 

With a PA government, I’m sorry to tell you, I will say only one thing, wherever they are, when they leave, whatever they did collapses and comes to haunt them. So you are going to have an aptitude of a person who is very clever and streetwise that can sell the Oros but without the ice blocks. So currently the dream of a Beaufort West becoming a Dubai, the hullabaloo that was created on the West Coast looking for a little girl, and then the opinion of going to a Knysna and then looking at George at another scenario of absolute sorrow being used as a campaign. So there you’ve got it. I’m sorry, they are writing checks they can’t balance. To go and say that they are going to solve the immigration problem in this country by just mass deportation shows you that a person does not understand international law. It’s not just about picking someone up, putting him in a truck and evacuating. There’s law, there’s common law. So these are promises that can’t get kept. 

Neil De Beer (19:37.593)

If you look at a DA government, you are going to get an effective fight where people are going to try and manage critical situations, but not being able to because they don’t and will not have the full support. I mean, they’re fighting in Tshwane. They refuse to get involved in Johannesburg. They are looking at the only bastion they’ve got with respect, and that is the Western Cape. Now the Western Cape at this current moment is the placard of if you get us in government, this is what we can do. But it is not working in Umtata. So I’ve always said I will vote DA. I promise you, I will become a DA member the minute that they can go into Umtata in the Eastern Cape and turn that province around in one year. The challenge is not to turn Cape Town, or to turn Durban. These are metros that are established and have since 1652. The challenge will be to go into the Eastern Cape. Any party that can go into the Eastern Cape and change that economy around, you can take government as far as I’m concerned, because that’s the challenge. 

So every party, you can see parties that made big promises. COPE is gone. The UDM is gone because the people built parties around Terror Lakota, Bantu Holomisa; they are gone. The one that needed to find its place again, and I’ll tell you it is, is the IFP. The IFP had a huge loss and thought that by the loss of Buthelezi, the icon as well around the party, that the party would actually collapse. It hasn’t, with the leadership of Honourable Hlabisa taking over, I think you can agree, Chris, they stayed to the optimum stable and they are fighting and their focus has always been KwaZulu-Natal. I think they are going to stabilise and they will continue to build now into the next future. 

Neil De Beer (21:58.201)

We need to also say, is Helen going or is Helen staying? Is John going to make it? Now, when you look at the dynamics between the John, and the Helen, time says that the time of the Helen era will go. It is only natural. And the time that John needs to now look at himself, but also look at the future is critical. So the DA must go also through this.

And then the rest of the parties, the UIM is a new party. It brings a new aptitude, a new attitude. It will grow slowly, but surely. And so will the small ones. And I hope that after this election, that the name calling, the name bashing, the critical tearing of each other apart, that at the end of the day, that after this election, we can unite again, we can forgive again, and we can focus on the real reason why we went into politics, for the people, about the people, and to better the people.

Chris Steyn (22:53.352)

I think the people of South Africa would appreciate a government that governs for the people.

Neil De Beer (23:26.105)

I also think, Chris, we’ve got to understand international influence.

Being a person that was part of the intelligence services, not just in this country, but had a huge understanding of intelligence services on the continent of Africa and globally. You know, our world is not an island. I must tell you a bit of a dip here. I had a long debate yesterday with an aviant person that tried to impress me about supporting Cape Independence and exit. And I said to the person, may I ask you, just a very cold flushed straight question. Why do you want to exit? And this person said, well, fundamentally, we want to break away to get out of all the hogwash that is currently in South Africa. We want to take the Cape and we want to make it a province and then our problems are solved. I said the fundamental flaw there is that the minute that you become independent, you’re going to have your utter revolution in there. Because if you send human beings to the moon and you put 10 South Africans on Pluto, in the first week there will be nine political parties created, 14 rugby teams and 16 churches. This is what happens when human beings co-create and become a society. Don’t think you can exit in jou moer in and get away from hogwash and rubbish. Where humans are, such existence of trouble will come. It’s just how it happens. So the guy looked at me and he said, well then we will have to exit from the exit. I said, yes, you will not stop exiting because this is the fundamental problem we have in this country. We think we can run away from our problems. The only people, Chris, that can sort out South Africa’s problems is South Africans themselves. But we are influenced. And if this is breaking news on your programme so be it. The country does not fundamentally decide on its own who will lead.

Neil De Beer (25:42.009)

So if you want to go a little bit deeper.

Chris Steyn (25:44.264)

Mm -hmm.

Neil De Beer (25:45.625)

This country says that it makes its own decision on who will lead this country in an election. What a lot of toss. That’s rubbish. This country, through its leading party, is influenced not by just the domestic vote, but with massive international guidance, assistance and funding. So whoever tells you that this country stands it alone and its domestic power is isolated in its domestic influence has not a tinkling clue about how global politics works. So the fact of the matter, the sadness of this, is that South Africans are going to fight on Wednesday and vote who they want to. But the governing party that carries the most influence from outside will win and will then govern for the next five years with a huge sentiment of 60% influence globally, but 40 % from the world masters. And that is reality. That, Chris, is not info, it’s intelligence. But I think you know that.

Chris Steyn (27:16.072)

Any last words, Neil? This is our last interview before the election.

Neil De Beer (27:20.889)

Yeah Chris, it’s been an absolute honour and privilege on Sundays to sit with you to make sure that we’ve got the info ready for your brilliant show. May I start off by saying to you, to Alec, and to the people of your station, thank you for giving the opportunity of truth and sometimes rumour to come out, but to stand strong. You’re an incredible person and you are also a person that finds the truth, the light. 

Secondly, to the people of this republic, the reason I joined politics. I want to tell you that looking to these pale blue eyes, I am a grandfather, I am a dad, I am a South African. My time in politics might not be forever, but I will tell you I have weathered huge storms, Chris, in my life. I have had cancer three times now without anybody knowing. I have been campaigning and working for years through chemotherapy and every day fighting to survive. I’ve now been three years cancer, three months cancer free, feels like three years. And it seems we’ve beaten it again. 

Like cancer, like your own personal strives and like South Africans battle every day, their own fight, my dream and my request and prayer is that we find that South Africa that we all truly believe it can be. That we really stretch amongst ourselves, no matter religion, colour, skin or pigmentation, and realise that this country’s true potential lies not in its beauty, just of geography, but in the souls of every person who says  that they are South African. And this is something I am proud of. This is something I live for and at times were willing to die for.

We don’t need to feel that we are not on top of the world. We need to put leaders that will take us to the top of our world. And that is my solemn prayer for the next three days.

Chris Steyn (30:09.608)

Thank you. That was Neil De Beer, the President of United Independent Movement, speaking to BizNews on the eve of the most important election in 30 years. Thank you, Neil.

Read also: