DA ABAN­DONS ITS LIB­ERAL TRA­DI­TIONS

Mole­batsi Masedi is a Polokwane, Lim­popo based pro­po­nent of rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. Tweeter: @Mole­bat­siMasedi

African Times - - Perspectives -

WITH the ex­pul­sion of Pa­tri­cia De Lille, the DA threw out of the win­dow the lib­eral tra­di­tions of live and let live. More so at the time when it is try­ing to project it­self as the right­ful heir to the Man­dela legacy of in­clu­siv­ity and open­ness.

For years now, the party has tried to sup­press and man­age the racial pres­sure cooker that has peren­ni­ally threat­ened to ex­plode at the slight­est provo­ca­tion. What has helped the DA’s pre­tences of racial har­mony and tol­er­ance has been its vic­tims dy­ing in si­lence with­out tak­ing the party head on for its in­tol­er­ance of dis­sent and in­de­pen­dence. And be­cause it is an op­po­si­tion to the ANC, the me­dia and com­men­ta­tors never se­ri­ously took it to task on its short com­ings.

Then along came De Lille, a very am­bi­tious and stub­born woman. She was bap­tised in the cru­cible of pre-1990 trade union strug­gles which took her to the ul­tra-rad­i­cal PAC and its one set­tler one bul­let rhetoric, and its one time wish to drive white peo­ple into the sea. It was in the PAC-aligned NACTU that she learnt her Pan African­ist pol­i­tics.

It was be­cause she couldn’t brook the lethargy of the PAC lead­er­ship that led her cut­ting her­self loose and later form­ing her own party which played into the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the Coloured com­mu­ni­ties in the Western Cape, and else­where in the coun­try. She was pop­u­lar enough to earn a seat for her­self in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The DA saw in De Lille a Tro­jan horse to sway the crit­i­cal coloured vote in its favour in the Western Cape in par­tic­u­lar. They im­me­di­ately swept her off her fit and made her sur­ren­der her party to the DA. At the time she was feted by her new com­rades. For­mer DA Par­lia­men­tary Leader Lindiwe Maz­ibuko’s po­lit­i­cal ku­dos was on the rise and she gave the ANCYL then pres­i­dent Julius Malema a se­ri­ous run for his money.

Zille, De Lille and Maz­ibuko pre­sented a façade of a for­mi­da­ble force to usher in the DA rule of the coun­try, mu­nic­i­pal­ity by mu­nic­i­pal­ity and province by province. At least on the face of it, it ap­peared to be a win­ning com­bi­na­tion of su­per women. No sooner were posters of the trio plas­tered on every lamp pole in the re­pub­lic that wheels came off.

Maz­ibuko left the coun­try in a huff and puff, though un­der the guise of tak­ing a once in a life time chance to study at the pres­ti­gious Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity in Eng­land. On com­ple­tion of her stud­ies she would be re­turned to her orig­i­nal po­si­tion in the Na­tional Assem­bly, if not a higher one. She was the fu­ture as the then DA chief He­len Zille liked to say.

She did re­turn, but only to the coun­try. With­out an ex­pla­na­tion she melted into the mael­strom of ev­ery­day life. She would never re­turn to the DA, her fate was sealed out­side the party.

Then along came Dr Mam­phela Ram­phele, an­other sheep to the DA slaugh­ter. She had a one night stand with the DA which ended in ac­ri­mony. De Lille, re­cently kicked out of the party, be­came one in many vic­tims of the party’s in­tol­er­ant streak.

Con­trary to claims to the lib­eral tra­di­tions of live and let live, and uni­ver­sal rights of man, the DA has be­come the haven of right wingers. All those right wingers who woke up one morn­ing to po­lit­i­cal home­less­ness af­ter the ex­pe­di­ent demise of the New Na­tional Party, Con­ser­va­tive Party, Her­stigte Na­sion­ale Party and Afrikaanse Weer­staan Beweg­ing found ac­com­mo­da­tion in the DA. From this mo­ment, right wing back­ward­ness found ex­pres­sion and rel­e­vance in the party.

Of course the DA woke up to the re­al­ity that the ma­jor­ity black peo­ple rule by their sheer force of num­bers. This re­al­i­sa­tion drove the party to ma­jor­ity black ar­eas, where it would fish in the same wa­ters as the ANC whose home turf these ar­eas were.

Over time, the DA made sig­nif­i­cantly se­ri­ous in­roads in black com­mu­ni­ties. This growth saw the party dis­place the al­liance of the ANC and the pro­gres­sive com­po­nent of the de­funct New Na­tional Party led by Mart­i­nus Van Schalk­wyk in the city of Cape Town and even­tu­ally the Western Cape Province it­self.

Out of anger against the ANC Malema, the leader of the EFF, handed the DA the big­gest vic­tory ever by go­ing into a coali­tion with it in the City of Johannesburg, Tsh­wane and Nel­son Man­dela Bay. The coali­tions in these three met­ros wrested power from the ANC.

The Jacob Zuma decade in gov­ern­ment and the ANC was am­mu­ni­tion to the DA and it milked it to the max­i­mum ben­e­fit. With Zuma still at the helm af­ter sur­viv­ing many mo­tions of no con­fi­dence, the DA was left sali­vat­ing over the prospects of an op­po­si­tion coali­tion wrest­ing power away from the ANC in the 2019 na­tional and pro­vin­cial elec­tions.

Just when the DA saw power in sight, all the prospects evap­o­rated one af­ter the other in rapid suc­ces­sion. Zuma lost the ANC 54th na­tional con­fer­ence when Cyril Ramaphosa beat Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the pres­i­dency of the party. Ramaphosa would later be elected pres­i­dent of the coun­try.

Zuma’s exit and Ramaphosa’s grandiose en­try and his uni­ver­sal ac­cep­tance by the coun­try and the world, in­clud­ing the much feared rat­ing agen­cies, cost the DA an elec­toral trump card. From Ramaphosa’s ad­vent, the DA would have to sweat to re­tain its sup­port, not even men­tion­ing ex­pand­ing its elec­toral base.

Just when the DA was on the back foot, it picked up an un­winnable fight with De Lille, the Cape Town mayor, who gifted them the coloured vote which won it the city. As things stand now De Lille and the DA have reached the point of no re­turn, they are ir­rec­on­cil­able. No won­der the ru­mour mill is abuzz that De Lille has been in talks with the ANC with the aim to hitch a ride with the rul­ing party in re­turn for a lu­cra­tive diplo­matic post­ing to Washington.

To com­pound mat­ters, for­mer ANC pre­mier of the Eastern Cape, Nosima Balindlela, has re­signed from the DA and has re­port­edly re­turned to her orig­i­nal po­lit­i­cal home. She had been used to shore up the DA in the province. Ob­vi­ously her sup­port will fol­low her lead to the ANC. There are many prom­i­nent black lead­ers whose flirt­ing with the DA was short-lived. There are many dis­grun­tled black mem­bers of the party who will leave the party any time.When De Lil­lie leaves the DA, she will open the sluice gates from the party to wher­ever she ends up.

The big les­son of the De Lille and DA war, is that it has re­vealed the party’s fake lib­er­al­ism. It marks the aban­don­ment of its found­ing lib­eral tra­di­tions of free­dom and equal­ity. There’s no free­dom and equal­ity in the party, not any­more. De Lille learnt the hard and pain­ful way, that her new home is the torch­bearer of the legacy of Hen­drik Ver­wo­erd and other apartheid relics.

Soon De Lille will be out on the streets, hus­tling for a new party and re­gret­ting ever be­liev­ing in DA’s false lib­er­al­ism. A good les­son for her and other politi­cians, who fol­low the lure of money and power, in­stead of their con­science.

Photo Vis­ual Buzz SA

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