‘Decisions, not promises’: Songezo Zibi to launch ‘movement’ to contest 2024 elections

Songezo Tsibi, chairman of the Rivon circle.

  • The Rivonia Circle think tank has confirmed that it is launching a political movement to contest the 2024 national elections.
  • Rivonia Circle chairman Songezo Zibi said it would remain a think tank and the secession movement would be formed under the banner of #SAMustRise.
  • The organization is currently “looking for leaders with a track record of decisions, not promises.”

Former editor and chairman of Rivonia Circle, Songezo Zibi, intends to establish a political movement to participate in the 2024 national elections.

Speaking to News24 on Monday night, Tsibi said Rivonia Circle will not become a political party but will campaign under the banner #SAMustRise, which will be on the ballot at the next polling stations.

Zibi explained that the think tank calls it a political movement because “the politics of a movement is more than just electing people.”

“If you are a movement, you must understand your priorities, which must be clear not only as a result of elections, but also in the period between elections.

“If your priority is to fight crime, then you need to focus on that every day,” Tsibi said.

Explaining how the idea came about, Zibi said on Saturday, Rivonia Circle gathered more than 500 patriotic South Africans to participate in the Mobilizing People’s Power for Rebellion workshop in Johannesburg, East London, Mtat, Mahikeng and Durban.

Speakers and participants included UDM president Bantu Holamisa, Defend our Democracy head Rev. Frank Chikane, Voice of the People founder Faiza Lok and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation executive director Nishan Baltan.

“According to the results of this interaction, the participants agreed that there is a need for a political movement. We then summarized our commitment to achieve this movement as a promise to each other,” Zibi said.

He explained that the participants agreed to mobilize one million people for the campaign to raise the Rivonia Circle.

Zibi said:

It’s easy to say we want to create a political moment, but 600 people don’t make a movement. The movement is when many South Africans embrace our ideology.

He explained that the political movement will have its own steering committee and the participants will expand the mechanism to convene this new organization. At the same time, Rivonia Circle will retain its separate identity as a think tank.

Zibi said Rivonia Circle’s current head of policy and research, Luhona Mnguni, would take over most of the day-to-day work.

Zibi will take over the leadership of the steering committee that will build the political movement.

He said that as part of the pledges made by participants, rise will be involved in creating and implementing solutions, and is therefore looking for leaders with a track record of “solutions, not promises”.

READ | ANC in decline but no other party attracting voters, Rivonia Circle poll shows

Zibi said some of the movement’s goals are to create a new political culture where public representatives are accountable to the people rather than political parties, and to create an economy that works for everyone, not just a few.

The former editor said he would like to have the campaign’s website up by Thursday so South Africans can start signing up.

Zibi launched Rivonia Circle with like-minded South Africans earlier this year.

Noting that the 2021 election had the lowest voter turnout in the country’s history, with around 70% of the country’s voters not turning out, the organization focused on encouraging South Africans to participate in building democracy.

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