Change Starts Later – New Party Withdraws From 2024 South African Elections

Published 4 months ago
Change Starts Now Launches Election Manifesto At Walter Sisulu Square
SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 19: Roger Jardine (Change Starts Now leader) during the launch of Change Starts Now election manifesto at Kliptown Youth Centre on February 19, 2024 in Soweto, South Africa. Change Starts Now is a political movement founded in December 2023, advocating for social and economic change in alignment with the principles outlined in "The South Africa We Want And Deserve" manifesto. (Photo by Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi)

Change Starts Now (CSN), the political initiative led by former FirstRand Group chair Roger Jardine, has decided not to contest the 2024 national and provincial elections. This announcement came just days after the party unveiled an ambitious manifesto in Kliptown, Soweto, proposing sweeping reforms to uplift South African society.

In a significant move, the party has cited the primary reasons for its withdrawal. “The recent Constitutional Court ruling and the barriers it imposes on newly-established political parties means CSN, like several other parties, faces a prejudicial, logistical timetable to qualify for the ballot,”

Jardine stated.


The Constitutional Court decided last week not to hear a challenge to the Electoral Amendment Act’s requirement for the number of signatures new parties require for the elections, suggesting that CSN might not have met the minimum requirement.

Despite the withdrawal, Jardine has stated that CSN’s vision remains undeterred, emphasizing that the party will move forward in an attempt to influence the political climate by supporting other registered parties that reflect their own values, “in the interests of increasing the chances of political change”.

The withdrawal comes in the wake of the apex court’s refusal to expedite the review of signature requirements for political parties not represented in the legislature. The court’s decision not to lower the threshold for new parties, while independent candidates need only 1,000 signatures to register, has been met with criticism from various political entities. The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has maintained its stance, urging parties to adhere to the nomination submission deadline of March 8.

Jardine, who launched CSN in December 2023 amid what was described as a national crisis, has reiterated the party’s commitment to continue advocating for the principles outlined in their Change Charter. “Our research tells us that only 41% of voters want to vote for the African National Congress (ANC),” Jardine said, signaling a potent demand for new political alternatives. Despite not participating in the upcoming elections, CSN plans to remain an active voice in shaping South Africa’s political discourse.


The party’s leadership, including prominent figures like Mark Heywood and Nicole Fritz, has indicated that CSN will persist in its efforts to unite South Africans behind a shared vision. “A lot of political work is needed to unite South Africans behind a shared vision for the future of our country,” Jardine stated, pointing out the necessity for cohesive action beyond electoral competition.

Change Starts Now’s exit from the election race is a poignant reminder of the dynamic and often arduous nature of South African politics for new entrants. Despite the rise of many new independent parties to challenge the dominance of larger participants such as the ANC, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and Democratic Alliance (DA), as the country approaches the most highly-contested election since 1994, the political landscape continues to evolve. The increasing influence of independent influence and coalitions presents a challenge to the traditional framework.