DA’s flip-flop ‘a slap in face for black mem­bers’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CRAIG DODDS

THE DA should re­move the bill­boards it put up in Joburg claim­ing it sup­ported black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, says the ANC, af­ter DA leader He­len Zille said the party had voted in favour of new em­ploy­ment eq­uity leg­is­la­tion by mis­take.

ANC cau­cus spokesman Moloto Mothapo said yes­ter­day, in the wake of the op­po­si­tion party’s em­bar­rass­ing flip- flop on the Em­ploy­ment Eq­uity Amend­ment Bill, the move should serve as a wake-up call to black DA mem­bers that they were in a party where they were not wel­come.

“They are apol­o­gis­ing for hav­ing pre­tended to sup­port the ma­jor­ity of the eco­nom­i­cally ex­cluded and not tak­ing the in­ter­ests of their real sup­port base into ac­count,” said Mothapo.

“It is a slap in the face of those black mem­bers of the DA, be­cause it re­ally shows them where their in­ter­ests are – and their in­ter­ests are def­i­nitely not in the devel­op­ment and eco­nomic in­clu­sion of the ma­jor­ity of black South Africans.”

This comes af­ter Zille wrote in her weekly newslet­ter that the DA had “dropped the ball” in vot­ing for the leg­is­la­tion in the Na­tional Assem­bly last month – a de­ci­sion that took some sup­port­ers by sur­prise and drew crit­i­cism.

Zille wrote that the mis­take had been the re­sult of a com­bi­na­tion of time pres­sure and mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion and went against the prin­ci­ples the party had adopted on af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion.

While the Broad-Based Black Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Bill, which the DA also voted for in the Na­tional Assem­bly, cre­ated a “con­text of in­cen­tives”, the em­ploy­ment eq­uity bill cre­ated “a con­text of co­er­cion”.

The lat­ter was “racially co­er­cive” and would “un­der­mine growth, re­duce jobs, drive away in­vest­ment and work against black em­pow­er­ment”.

Zille emerged from what is un­der­stood to have been a heated DA cau­cus meet­ing on Thurs­day say­ing she be­lieved the MPs had been per­suaded to sup­port the new po­si­tion.

But DA labour spokesman Sej Mo­tau con­firmed yes­ter­day he stood by his vote in favour of the bill.

“I stand by that, but I can’t com­ment on what the leader said. She is the right per­son to com­ment on that,” he said.

Asked how he would vote when the bill re­turned from its next port of call, the Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces, Mo­tau said it would de­pend on the out­come of that process.

“We will take a cue from our col­leagues there. Clearly it will again be a cau­cus de­ci­sion as to what hap­pens.”

DA na­tional spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the ANC’s pro­pos­als on the bill showed the party was “very Ver­wo­er­dian in their think­ing” and wanted to re­turn “to a space where we can clas­sify races”.

“The fo­cus on own­er­ship has been the ex­er­cise of the ANC for the past 18 years and it hasn’t got us where we need to go.”

The real ar­gu­ment should be about broad­en­ing an in­clu­sive econ­omy, “rather than how do you in­crease the thresh­old, as they want to do, so peo­ple can be em­pow­ered up to R50 mil­lion”.

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