While ‘moonshot’ originally meant “long shot”, it’s increasingly being used to describe a monumental effort and a lofty goal—in other words, a “giant leap”. Merriam Webster
It always seems impossible until it’s done. Nelson Mandela
There can be no doubt that the 2024 national election is make or break for South Africa. On Thursday, Freedom Day, we celebrated the first democratic election of 27 April 1994, when South Africa achieved political freedom for all.
Three decades on, political freedom for all has failed to translate to economic freedom for all. Instead, every day brings more poverty as crime, corruption, living costs, unemployment, and debt continue to soar unchecked. How can we celebrate Workers Day today when unemployment stands at 40% and youth unemployment at 60%?
The 2024 election may be our last chance to use democracy – political freedom for all – to achieve South Africa’s crucial second transition, to being a country of economic freedom for all as envisaged by the Constitution.
By the next national and provincial election in 2029, even if our democracy is still intact – don’t count on it – there will be a lot less to save at the rate that infrastructure and institutions are crumbling, and skills and capital fleeing South Africa.
In 2024, South Africa will properly enter a coalition era. It is highly unlikely the ANC will win outright support nationally or in Gauteng and KZN, the two most populous provinces. Polls already have ANC support at or below 50% nationally and far lower in Gauteng and KZN. And it will continue to fall as high-stage loadshedding, a direct result of ANC corruption and incompetence, continues unabated.
All indications are that the ANC will form a coalition with the EFF to try stay in power. They’ve already done this in Gauteng, to take back Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros from the DA-led coalitions that formed after the 2021 local election. Recent statements by ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi confirm that an ANC-EFF coalition is on the cards nationally too.
Make no mistake: this will be a calamitous outcome for South Africa. The EFF will insist on a socialist agenda of expropriation without compensation and greater state ownership of the economy, leading to mass disinvestment and even more corruption and poverty.
This will accelerate our slide to state failure, a situation which is extremely hard to reverse, as seen by the Zimbabwean predicament of economic stagnation, rigged elections and opposition oppression. It would truly be a Doomsday Coalition, destroying virtually all hope of economic freedom for all.
The DA has committed to forming a Moonshot Pact with all like-minded non-ANC-EFF opposition parties and groupings in society who share our commitment to building the modern and mature constitutional democracy required to bring economic freedom to all.
The aim of the Moonshot Pact is to bring the combined ANC-EFF vote share below 50% in the 2024 national election and for the Pact partners together to get the 50% plus one required to form a Pact government. Seven like-minded opposition parties have so far indicated a willingness to attend a national convention in June, to formulate our offer to South Africa and agree on our working relationship.
By coming together to form a pre-election coalition, we will offer voters a credible path to power for our reformist government-in-waiting, and therefore hope for a prosperous future.
In 2024, voters will have a clear two-way choice between an ANC-EFF Doomsday Coalition and a DA-led Moonshot Pact. A clear choice between state-led development, race-based policies, corruption and cadre deployment on the one hand, and a market economy, nonracialism, and an honest, capable state on the other. 2024 will be a two-horse race that we have a realistic chance of winning, thanks to this clarity of choice.
The material consequences of this binary choice are already evident in the widening gap between governing outcomes in ANC-run areas versus DA-run areas (such as the Western Cape, Cape Town, Midvaal, Kouga and uMngeni).
The most compelling example is new job creation. StatsSA’s recently reported that in the period October to December 2022, 98% of all new jobs were created in the Western Cape, while the eight ANC-run provinces together contributed a net total of just 2%. Under a Pact government, the whole country will experience the kind of job creation currently only happening in the DA-run Western Cape.
The Moonshot Pact will only work between parties that all genuinely share a commitment to put South Africa first. It will not work with opportunistic parties that are currently propping up municipalities like Johannesburg, open to the highest bidder. Only those parties that act in good faith can build the stable Pact necessary to win the trust and confidence of voters. The politics of bribery and extortion is a dead -end street that will undermine service delivery and public confidence in coalitions.
All political parties also therefore have a binary choice: either they stand with the Pact or they stand with the Doomsday Coalition. Any party open to the highest bidder and trying to play one side off against the other is not truly committed and will only damage the Pact’s prospects in the long run.
The DA’s dual mission now is on the one hand to ensure a successful Pact by building widespread support for it and treating our Pact partners with respect and diplomacy; and on the other to grow our party so that the DA can be the strong and stable anchor that will ensure the Pact becomes a viable coalition government without the instability we have seen in some places.
The Moonshot Pact gives South Africa the best chance of fulfilling the South African Constitution’s vision of political and economic freedom for all. The 2024 election is our best and perhaps only chance to save South Africa. Everyone who wants South Africa to be a prosperous, modern liberal democracy should get behind the DA and the Moonshot Pact.