Failed bid to paint DA as re­formed

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

ON JAN­UARY 24, the Star pub­lished an ar­ti­cle by the former chief whip of the DAand am­bas­sador of South Africa to Thai­land, Mr Dou­glas Gib­son ti­tled; “ANC needs new blood”.

The cur­rent state of the ANC and the at­ten­dant in­ter­nal suc­ces­sion de­bates, al­though not of­fi­cial, have gen­er­ated an un­prece­dented up­surge of pub­lic in­ter­est out­side struc­tures of the party, in­clud­ing lead­ing per­son­al­i­ties within the op­po­si­tion ranks. This means that even fierce op­po­nents of the ANC and trans­for­ma­tion in South Africa and else­where in the world have keen in­ter­est in the in­ter­nal lead­er­ship and or­gan­i­sa­tional mat­ters of the move­ment.

In the ar­ti­cle, Gib­son laments fail­ure of the ANC to re­new it­self and ad­just its poli­cies in line with the in­ter­ests of the vot­ers.

He con­cludes by lament­ing: “The rul­ing party needs to spend time in the op­po­si­tion benches so it can find its soul and poli­cies that res­onate with the vot­ers.”

Per­haps Gib­son de­serves to be re­minded that in its own re­flec­tions on the chal­lenges of re­newal, the ANC has con­ceded that with­out rad­i­cal re­newal it de­serves no fu­ture. Gib­son’s lamen­ta­tion in this re­gard is not a dis­cov­ery but a point con­ceded to by the ANC a long time ago.

Gib­son went fur­ther to glo­rify the young leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane as the best model of or­gan­i­sa­tional and lead­er­ship re­newal that the ANC can draw lessons from. In this he omits to con­cede that re­newal for the ANC is not about nar­row and short­lived de­sires to save the face of the or­gan­i­sa­tion against the on­slaught of racist and pa­tri­ar­chal out­look asis the case with the DA in its choice of Maimane as a leader. This hypocrisy of the DA is­com­pounded by a fal­la­cious pos­ture that Maimane was elected un­con­tested.

Is Gib­son’s con­tri­bu­tion meant to ad­vance the fu­ture of the South Africa we want or a mere po­lit­i­cal bluff from a dy­ing po­lit­i­cal di­nosaur that still wants to cling to the um­bil­i­cal cord of right wing con­ser­va­tive dogma?

Quite hon­estly, there is no em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence to sug­gest other­wise.

Gib­son’s ar­gu­ment was rid­dled with fal­la­cies and ide­o­log­i­cal in­con­sis­ten­cies in a des­per­ate at­tempt to por­tray the DA as a re­formed or­gan­i­sa­tion that re­flects the in­ter­ests and de­mo­graph­ics of South Africa.

The parad­ing of Maimane as a cham­pion of trans­for­ma­tion is not a true re­flec­tion of the char­ac­ter of the DA. In fact it is op­po­site. There is not even a gen­er­a­tional mix and non-racial­ism in the com­po­si­tion of its lead­ing struc­tures both at party po­lit­i­cal level and in­sti­tu­tions of gover­nance like Par­lia­ment and mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils in­clud­ing the cabi­net of the Western Cape. This is the coun­sel Gib­son should give to the DA in­stead of wast­ing his time and en­er­gies on the ANC.

Dur­ing the 1999 na­tional elec­tions cam­paign, the DA un­der Tony Leon and his chief lieu­tenant, Dou­glas Gib­son, adopted a rad­i­cal anti-trans­for­ma­tion pos­ture ar­tic­u­lated in the slo­gan “Gatvol – Fight Back” which in essence meant fight­ing the as­pi­ra­tions of the black ma­jor­ity as ad­vanced by the trans­for­ma­tion agenda of the ANC. Once more, how does the cur­rent ne­olib­eral out­look of the DA and its com­po­si­tion re­flect a party for change in South Africa?

Con­trary to the ANC that has gone pub­lic about its in­ter­nal chal­lenges, DA vet­er­ans and its lead­er­ship want to fool South Africans that they are an al­ter­na­tive to the ANC amid­deep-seated racial ten­sion be­tween the white su­prem­a­cists and the African mi­nor­ity in the party. Bon­gani Mkongi ANC MP, Western Cape


NO HERO: The parad­ing of Mmusi Maimane as a cham­pion of trans­for­ma­tion is not a true re­flec­tion of the char­ac­ter of the DA, says the writer.

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