Sunday, January 27, 2013

South Africa: Helen Zille and the DA's Challenge

Timeslive ( South Africa ) reports

'DA will not bring back apartheid': Zille

                                                               Helen Zille. File photo.

People should not fear that the Democratic Alliance will bring back apartheid if the party came into power, leader Helen Zille said on Saturday.

"We will never bring back apartheid. In fact, people who think life was better under apartheid do not belong in the DA. We will never take away your grants or houses," Zille said.
Last year I read When Mandela Goes and I blogged about it and have been meaning to follow up on that for some time. One of the points in the book was the possibility that the Democratic Alliance  held for the new South Africa. The book was published in 1997 and the author pointed out that  he held no great optimism for the party ever becoming a real challenger to the ANC.
"We will only work to expand opportunities, grow the economy to create jobs for more people, fix the schools... deliver basic services better, and stop the corruption that steals money straight from the pockets of the poorest people."
The Democratic Alliance returning South Africa to apartheid is a bloody joke as anyone with even the smallest knowledge of South African politics would know. The party has a proud history of opposing apartheid and grew out of the white anti-apartheid movement of the seventies so is philosophically opposed to the repugnance that is apartheid but on a more pragmatic note white rule in Africa is over period and it will never return.  
Zille was speaking at the welcoming of Jabulani Chiya to the party in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal.
Chiya is a former African National Congress (ANC) member who ran independently in the municipal elections.
Zille said Chiya was part of the growing number of former ANC members and activists who were now joining the DA.
Again from memory the DA has since the fall of apartheid been making a real effort to attract " coloured " ( I hate that term ) and black membership. It currently is the official opposition in South Africa and in my opinion would be a far better organisation to inherit the mantel of Nelson Mandela than the corrupt and increasingly racist ANC.
In her speech Zille referred to a letter from Lesego Setou, written to the Mail&Guardian on Friday entitled "fear of the unknown".
Setou said that the reason why people stayed in toxic relationships was fear. They were afraid of the unknown and would rather stick with the known no matter how bitter, terrifying or unbearable it was.
"I realised how we have allowed the ANC to abuse us. We have rewarded the ANC with faith when it failed us with ever rising electricity tariffs," the letter read.
I agree completely the ANC has become a toxic brand but it is not only increasing electricity tariffs that have caused the problem. The ANC no longer cares for the people of South Africa. It is no longer committed to building a strong wealthy middle class. It has degenerated into a political party that props up the traditional black elites and maintains their control over the state. It has become in short the legitimate successor to the South African Nationalist Party. 
"We have been with the ANC even when it cheated us in the form of corrupt public servants who squander our tax money. We pardoned the ANC for infidelity in the form of the arms deal and we are still pardoning the ANC for slapping us in the face with e-tolling."
Setou said that a majority of black South Africans remain in a "toxic relationship" with the ANC and said they "have a fear of Helen Zille".
"We fear to take a chance on her [Zille] because of the colour of her skin, we fear the policies she has in store for us."
I actually can understand the fear of the DA when it comes to older black South Africans.The generation that grew up under apartheid have good reason to fear white rule and at the moment if you are white in South Africa that is a political reality that must be factored into any electoral equation. However South Africa ( like the rest of Africa ) is a young and becoming younger nation.
However, Zille said there was nothing to fear as evidenced by the move of ANC members to the DA.
She said they have come to see that the DA was "the best hope for the future" of the country.
The DA is a center left party and one that I would have no difficulty supporting if I was a South African. There are several paths open to South Africa one hopes they can see the futility of following Mugabe's example and leading South Africa down the Zimbabwe road as advocated by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, who is by any reckoning a fool. The ANC seems to at best now offer an increasingly Swaziland alternative with the curtailment of individual liberties and the abolition of women rights. The DA offers a real future for South Africa but it must become in reality a party that is trusted by the black population of South Africa, that more than anything should be its priority. That is Helen Zille's Challenge.
"Today, I am here with Jabulani Chiya to show that there is nothing to be afraid of in the DA," she said.
"We want to build a future for South Africa where no one needs to fear the colour of another person's skin, as Mr Setou said -- because we all work for the betterment of one another, no matter who or what colour we are."
In other words Mandela's dream of the rainbow nation.

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