Soul-search­ing time for DA

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Mafika Siphiwe Mgcina

THE UNENDING soap opera in the DA around He­len Zille beats all the soap op­eras cur­rently play­ing on Mzansi chan­nel. Mmusi Maimane is caught be­tween a rock and a hard place.

After two years at the helm of the DA, he is try­ing very hard to ex­act his au­thor­ity, de­ci­sive­ness and abil­ity to lead a party as broad and di­verse as the DA.

A few sce­nar­ios spring to mind in the un­fold­ing opera be­tween Maimane and Zille on her ut­ter­ances around colo­nial­ism.

First, the DA made sig­nif­i­cant gains in the 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. Some at­tribute this to Maimane’s lead­er­ship, while oth­ers within the DA aver that Zille laid the foun­da­tion for that growth.

The most dif­fi­cult sce­nario is the on­go­ing de­bate about the DA’s abil­ity to grow sig­nif­i­cantly in the black town­ships, which is the home of the pre­dom­i­nant black vote un­der Maimane. Or should it main­tain its pre­vi­ous iden­tity as a white-rep­re­sen­ta­tive party.

An­other big ques­tion is its abil­ity to en­ter into coali­tion with rad­i­cal par­ties like EFF – some­thing that was un­think­able un­der Zille’s lead­er­ship – while on the other hand main­tain­ing its iden­tity as a lib­eral party that rep­re­sents the other sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion.

Un­til the DA un­der Maimane clar­i­fies its ob­jec­tives and strate­gies as a di­verse po­lit­i­cal party, the dream of be­ing a fully rep­re­sen­ta­tive party for all South Africans will be de­ferred.

The tug-of-war will con­tinue be­tween Maimane’s “prochange” group and those who want to main­tain the sta­tus quo un­der Zille. Jo­han­nes­burg

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