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