Patriotic Alliance (PA) President Gayton McKenzie and his deputy Kenny Kunene will next week fly to Israel to study how the apartheid country has managed to run coalition governments over the past 70 years.
The PA delegation plans to leave South Africa on July 23, and will spend six days in the Middle East country, it said in a statement.
“Aside from one brief occasion from 1968 to 1969, Israeli governments have been made up of coalitions since the inception of Israel in 1948. The current government in the Israeli Knesset (its legislature) comprises six parties.
“Israel is a country struggling with deep and complex social and political issues against the backdrop of a divided history. Whatever one’s views may be on the country, valuable lessons can be drawn for South Africa from its experiences,” said PA spokesperson Steve Motale.
Motale said the trip would benefit the party because it was already participating in coalitions in South African politics.
“The PA already plays a significant role in coalition governments at the local government level in South Africa, with the likelihood that the party will have a significant say in new coalitions at provincial and national level following next year’s elections,” he said.
The PA team plans to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog and various political parties both within the Israeli coalition and outside it.
McKenzie said politics require an open mind.
“I am a very curious person, which was why when I was invited to Orania, I went to see it for myself. There was good there, and there was bad. Israel divides opinions even more, but that doesn’t mean one can’t learn from the place.
“We will not be taking anyone’s side in or about Israel – we are going there to learn, and I am always humbled to have the opportunity to learn something new and challenge whatever views I might have,” McKenzie said.
The PA intends to follow the visit with other trips to European democracies led by coalition governments, including Finland, Germany and Denmark.
McKenzie has also set his sights on El Salvador, to study how President Nayib Bukele transformed his nation.
“Bukele is a living example of how a young man with a vision and true determination can free society from the absolute grip of crime and hopelessness. I can think of no one better to seek out in these troubled times for South Africa,” said McKenzie.
Kunene said studying other countries was a necessary step for the PA.
“This is an important moment for us as a party as we continue to evolve our vision of a better South Africa that works for all its people,” Kunene said.