Left­wing DA mem­bers will surely not fly Zille Air­ways again

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - ISSUES - MAR­IUS FRANS­MAN

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

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