Hersov’s “Dear John…” to re-elected DA Leader (as Rob heads for the door)

By Rob Hersov*

Dear John,

Congratulations on being re-elected to run the DA through the 2024 make-or-break (for our country) elections. A well-deserved win.

Rob Hersov
Rob Hersov

You have steadied the DA ship over the last two years, and you should be very proud of the DA’s many accomplishments, especially with almost 25% of the country voting for the DA. That is a superb position, and most other countries with coalition governments would be thrilled to have an anchor partner with a quarter of the voters already in hand.

The reason for my Dear John letter is that I am close to leaving the DA for another party and, as you will immediately ask me why and for whom, I might as well tell you upfront that it will be to either Mmusi’s BOSA or Corne’s VF+. But as I have loved the DA for so long, I will give you one last chance.

Why would I faithfully leave the party I have (often in a maverick way, upsetting the snowflake DA lefties) defended and supported all my voting life? Well, let me tell you first about my flirting with “others”.

Let’s take Dr Corne Mulder and the VF+. With 2-3% of the voters, this party (and Corne, the most authentic, experienced, and competent parliamentarian) is head and shoulders more mature, is better disciplined, and has a deeper bench of intellectuals than any other party in this country (only the ANC comes close intellectually but from off a failed ideology). The VF+ are practical and intelligent, and deeply competent. The VF+ has, in my estimate, seven or so world-class leaders, all of whom I would rate as good or better than the top team at the DA. Yet, the VF+ are comfortable as the “brains” and quiet diplomats of the potential rainbow coalition and are content with their 3-4%. Corne has the best political pedigree of all and is the most competent, which shows.

Now, let me tell you about me and Mmusi Maimane and his BOSA (Build One South Africa for those who haven’t yet noticed it, which is part of BOSA’s challenge). Mmusi has massive potential, and his ideas are correct, but there seems to be little action and no traction…….and, like others, he will struggle to raise money. He also urgently needs a ruthless political operator as his COO/strategist (in my romantic dream scenario, he and Helen would makeup up and team up). Mmusi needs a stronger team to raise serious money. But he has 15 months to go, and a lot can happen then. BOSA can get 10-15% of the national vote if they come right on team and funding. What a President MM would make!

What about Action SA, you may now ask? Well, they are my greatest disappointment of all. I rate Herman highly, and he is my most obvious choice for President should the rainbow coalition win, but Action SA has stalled and is even fading. ActionSA should focus its efforts and firepower on dominating Gauteng and aiming at getting to 15%+ nationally, so why are they wasting time trying to gain traction in the Western Cape, for example? ActionSA doesn’t have enough money (this I know) to be messing about where they cannot make a difference. Herman’s team also haven’t positioned him well enough, and he keeps getting sent off in the wrong direction. Conquer Gauteng and project that success elsewhere is my advice to Herman and Michael.

It has always been clear to you (and any else that listens to me) that I rate Gayton McKenzie and his leadership of the PA. Gayton is the most interesting potential partner for the good guys,  comes from the most challenging background, and deserves his success. He has an excellent strategy for delivering results (I doff my cap to the superb Charles Cilliers, Gayton’s right hand). G-Mac is deeply read in philosophy and economics (and poetry) and, like me, believes in community and not central control, is fiercely anti-communist, and is a capitalist with a social conscience. He is a church-going Christian and describes himself not as “King of the coloured’s” but of the colourful. Gayton is rapidly forcing a rebalancing of power. Unfortunately, the DA seems to have lost the plot regarding the PA and Gayton.

And let’s not forget the very disciplined, astute, regal, respectful and conservative (in the most praiseworthy sense) Inkatha Freedom Party, who are right now giving the ANC a good seeing-to in KZN. What a partner they make. Respect.

And finally, ACDP is an excellent and decent group, but I worry they are not motivated to grow. A positive and reliable partner, nonetheless.

So why am I falling out of love with the DA and considering leaving this long-term romance? The DA is a great, honourable, and moral organisation and deserves praise and thanks for all the efforts made since 1994. But my about-to-fall-out-of-love has happened because I have realised the DA has a very provincial view and sorely lacks a strategic perspective. It is stunted. It does not behave in a statesmanlike way. It is intellectually shallow. And the current DA feels lazy to me. For example, the DA stupidly attacks the VF+ for no intelligent reason. And, worse, this DA completely rejects Gayton and the PA to the detriment of losing numerous cities and municipalities to the ruinous ANC.

Instead, and this is my last chance offer, the DA must commit to bringing together the smaller parties (ActionSA, VF+, PA, etc.) into a “rainbow coalition” that we desperately need and would welcome. And I know all these smaller parties would join with open arms. This is the critical role the DA needs to play right now, ever to win me back. And if Helen’s strategy is to team up with the ANC to ensure the EFF doesn’t do the same, that is a terrible choice. This ANC is morally corrupt, led by useless and evil people, and will keep the country heading down the plug, regardless of what influence the DA might think they can bring to bear in that awful coalition.

A rainbow coalition, anchored by a self-confident team playing DA and made up of the DA, ActionSA, VF+, Inkatha, PA, BOSA and ACDP, can win back South Africa in 2024. And you will win me back, heart and soul.

John, do the math.

And then call me, please.


P.S. to prove you can do this for me, I want you to go to Barrydale with Gayton, stand next to one another, and you must openly praise the PA. You and Gayton can then start ejecting those kleptocrats and kleptocrats of the ANC from the Western Cape (and next the Northern Cape, and then the rest of SA) together, forever. Then do the same with Herman in Gauteng, etc.

  • Rob Hersov is a global entrepreneur based in Cape Town.

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