Johannesburg, 7 February 2024: In a bold move to reshape the political landscape of South Africa, new political party, Change Starts Now, has kicked off its election drive with a focus on the real state of the nation and the commitment to address South Africa’s most pressing challenges with pragmatic and innovative solutions and to restore dignity to its citizens.
Founded on the belief that the essence of governing is to prioritise the welfare of its citizens, Change Starts Now aims to bring the State to its people – and to mend the disconnect between the two, a gap that has widened over the past three decades, impacting the delivery of essential services and eroding public trust.
“1994 was a seminal moment in the move to restore the dignity of our people,” says Change Starts Now leader and former anti-apartheid activist, Roger Jardine. “Over the past thirty years – and the past ten, in particular – we have witnessed the erosion of that dignity. In every interaction between citizens and the state, from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), our decrepit public health system and public education that’s failing the majority of the country’s youth, the government has betrayed our nation. The time for change has come,” says Jardine.
Change Starts Now is uniquely positioned to lead a collaborative effort across all sectors – political parties, civil society, workers, women, youth, and private and public organisations, while placing citizens at the heart of its policy framework.
“We know the problems, and we know the solutions,” says Jardine. “South Africa has the skills, the experts, and the sheer will to do great things.”
Change Starts Now pledges to:
- Fix the economy and create more jobs.
- Make our country a safer place to live in.
- Provide a safety net for those without income security.
- Ensure decent basic services such as health, education, water, power, and sanitation.
- Build a government that works for the people.
The plan is straightforward:
- Collaborate with business and other partners to create new jobs, especially for the youth.
- Fix broken public and economic infrastructure, including Eskom, Transnet, and Rand Water.
- End corruption in public institutions, particularly in the police force and prisons. Ensure accountability and protect Constitutional rights.
- Explore comprehensive social security solutions.
- Encourage innovation, imagination, and creativity in solving South Africa’s problems, restoring dignity, and building unity and national pride.
A new approach to governance
Change Starts Now sets itself apart from current political groups by adopting a forward-thinking approach to policy and governance.
“We advocate for a different approach that emphasises project delivery and management over lengthy policy drafts. Our focus is on implementing practical solutions, not launching a policy jamboree,” says Jardine.
Using public procurement to further public policy goals is recognised globally, yet it must not compromise public welfare or national stability, Jardine adds. “The existing procurement practices within public institutions have failed, prioritizing patronage and corruption over service delivery and value for money, leading to a significant erosion of public trust. A strategic re-evaluation of government procurement is necessary to address these issues effectively.”
At Davos in January this year, more than 250 dollar billionaires and millionaires signed an open letter to public representatives for higher taxes on the extremely-rich. The call is inspired by a view that economic exclusion and a lack of social mobility are the root causes of the decline in support for democracy. “This is a major problem confronting the world, and Change Starts Now believes that in order to restore faith in democracy, this should go hand in hand with a strong social compact between the extremely rich, the extremely poor and a well-functioning state,” says Jardine.
Engaging citizens and empowering the youth
Change Starts Now acknowledges the widespread disenchantment among voters, especially the younger demographic, and is committed to reinvigorating civic participation throughout South Africa.
“We understand the critical need to involve citizens as active stakeholders in the democratic process, extending their involvement beyond election periods,” says Jardine. “By organising town halls, community meetings, and grassroots campaigns, Change Starts Now is mobilising young voters and those disillusioned with the existing political climate. Renewed engagement in the development of South Africa’s future is what the country needs.”
The party hosted a free ‘Jamming to Vote for Change’ concert featuring the best local South African talent on 3 February at Heartfelt Arena in Tshwane, where the young audience also had the opportunity to register to vote. This was followed, on 6 February, by an address by Jardine to the Cape Town Press Club on his strategy for the 2024 elections.
“A government in which Change Starts Now has a voice would focus attention on improving public services, particularly in housing and in healthcare,” says Jardine. “Our first order of business in government will be to kick-start an investment cycle with a very large infrastructure investment programme to jump-start our economy and grow employment.”
Commitment to transparency and a vision for the future
At the heart of Change Starts Now is a firm dedication to transparency and accountability, applicable to both the party’s internal operations and the broader government machinery.
“We advocate for a strong parliamentary system that effectively oversees the executive branch, guaranteeing that governance truly represents the hopes and needs of the populace,” says Jardine.
Moving forward, Change Starts Now aims to transform South Africa’s political scene by providing voters with additional options and promoting a move towards politics centred on specific issues.
Departing from conventional party politics, Change Starts Now strives to cultivate a more inclusive, responsive, and modern style of governance – one that directly confronts the challenges South Africans face today.
Be the change
More and more, people in South Africa are asking for change from a dysfunctional country of broken dreams. Change Starts Now asks you to be the change you want to see. Join the initiative to make South Africa a better country. Work for change in your communities. Help Change Starts Now to persuade other South Africans to choose a better future. Register to vote. Vote for the South Africa you deserve.
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ABOUT CHANGE STARTS NOW:
Change Starts Now is a new political party established in 2023 which brings together people and organisations who want to reclaim their future. It believes many South Africans have lost hope in the current political options and, as we approach the 2024 elections, there’s a need for new ideas, new approaches and new people to take the lead. The Change Starts Now movement wants South Africans to be a part of its journey to a better South Africa. It believes that together, we will build a society based on human rights, justice, equality, transparency, and accountability.
We need change. We need change to start now. We need Change Starts Now!
Tel: 079 438 3252
Email: [email protected]