Leftwing DA members will surely not fly Zille Airways again
PREMIER Helen Zille’s opinion piece, “A plane crash that should have been avoided” ( Saturday Argus, November 9) is telling in many respects.
It is reflective of the political mood in the DA and affirms the view that the transformation agenda of the DA is a view held by a minority in the party. This is indeed sad.
The depth of confusion that emanates from Zille’s statement is telling of the thinking in the DA as it prepares for yet another election under the guise of “Fighting Back” or, as some would, say “Fighting B(l)ack”.
The response clearly demon- strates that the ultra-conservatives in the DA have once again affirmed their control over the party and are making a mockery of the efforts of the likes of Dr Wilmot James, Mmusi Maimane, Makashule Gana and countless others who have joined the DA and had hoped to transform it from a white minority party to a broad-based party, an objective they have failed to attain.
The explanation Zille gives for her party’s “boo-boo” over two very important pieces of legislation for transformation really exposes the DA’s confusion about its true role in the opposition benches.
Here the DA had a golden opportunity to affirm its commitment to the advancement of African and coloured people in our country, both in terms of job opportunities and economic empowerment. However, when the chips were down, the right wing baulked against this notion, and Zille capitulated without hesitating. The lame excuse that Minister Rob Davies was reneging on his commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) is nothing but a lie, as the codes clearly stipulate the meaning of BBBEE. The truth is that Zille does not have the backbone to oppose the right wing in her party.
Instead of being completely honest with party members, especially those who have championed the BEE cause, as to why she did a somersault on this piece of legislation, she blames everyone except herself. Her claim that the DA is committed to addressing the legacies of the past is nothing but a lie aimed at holding on to the few coloured and African supporters the party has. It must now be abundantly clear to all those in the DA who seek to redress the legacies of apartheid that she cannot take them to that desired state of being a truly South African political party. Zille is a spent force; her response on this matter clearly demonstrates her fear of losing the ultra-conservative and racist elements in the DA.
Zille’s diagnosis of race and politics affirms the ANC’s criticism of the DA; that it has failed to properly understand the correlation between race and economic freedom. She goes on to say that race is no longer a determinant in poverty levels. This, from the leader of government in the Western Cape, is shocking. It affirms the wide gap between Zille and the people of South Africa. A brief analysis of data from Stats SA, the National Treasury, the Development Policy Research Unit at the School of Economics at UCT, the Human Science Research Council, and elsewhere, scientifically demonstrates that poverty in South Africa is intrinsically linked to race, and, in the Western Cape, to African and coloured working people in particular.
One of the primary reasons why Zille caved in on this matter has to do with her track record and leadership of the Western Cape provincial government and her level of commitment to transformation of the public sector in her administration.
For months the ANC in the province has asked Zille to declare the levels of employment equity in her administration at senior and middle management level.
To date this has been a closely guarded secret. This can only be because the results will reflect her total disdain for the appointment of African and coloured people to senior positions.
It is therefore not surprising that her administration continually miscalculates the mood of the poor in our communities; it is precisely because of this gap in representivity in her administration that she continually angers poor communities. I challenge her to prove the contrary.
This chapter in the DA’s history will be defined by Zille’s failure to become a leader who transformed the DA from a minority, inwardlooking party to a more representative entity. Indeed, its plane has crashed. The only question that remains is whether the agents within who have tried to champion transformation in the DA will risk flying Zille Airways again.
Fransman is the deputy minister of international relations, and chairman of the ANC in the Western Cape