Why the DA can’t be trusted
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 10 November 2013. 18h30. On 30 September last year I argued that the DA is not interested in running Oudtshoorn, and that the DA will sacrifice its proverbial first-born on the altar of expediency to attract a defined category of voter: Blacks who currently vote ANC.
Click here for the story – there is also a graphic illuminating my argument.
The DA’s current policy crisis – support, or not, for the Employment Equity Bill; Helen Zille’s so-called ‘plane crash by proxy’ – is political retailing gone wrong.
Like most retailers the DA is looking to stock its shop with products known to be demanded and desired by most shoppers.
A retailer that attracts only some 25% of consumers will look with acute interest at the shelves of the shop attracting some 65% of the market.
The DA did just that – study the ANC shelves – and stocked the EEB.
Only, current customers threatened to take their money elsewhere.
So, like Woolies did with ‘religious magazines’ some time ago, the DA purged it stores.
But many executives are unhappy – some who want to sell the product and others who don’t.
Retailing is a tough and unforgiving game. And the consumer is a bitch.
The EEB is diametrically opposed to the DA’s soi disant raison d’être: An open opportunity society in which every person is free, secure and equal, where everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of his life and pursue her (sic) dreams, and in which every language and culture has equal respect and recognition.
This is the dream the DA claims it will deliver – the South African dream of one nation, with one future, living together under the constitution in peace, security and prosperity, with opportunity and recognition for all the rainbow people.
The term “Open Opportunity Society for All” brings together three key concepts:–
1) Individual freedom under the rule of law – an open society;
2) Opportunity with responsibility – an opportunity society; and
3) Full equality for all.
In doing so, it creates a fourth concept that underpins the DA vision of the proper relationship between individuals, the state and society in South Africa today. Our vision is grounded in the idea that every human being has a right to dignity. Human dignity is the foundational concept that informs our values and vision.
Where the DA governs, it claims, in places such as Cape Town and other municipalities throughout the country (the Western Cape, to be sure and two, or three other) the party is already putting this vision into practice. The DA claims that it has created more economic opportunities, accelerated service delivery and cut crime. The DA claims that it is helping to improve people’s lives.
The DA claims its vision is compelling, harnessing all that is best in human kind, grounded in a rightly optimistic view of our capacity to live well together, and to succeed.
In an email of February 8 2012, copied also to DA Fedex chair James Selfe and Western Cape minister of finance Alan Winde, then DA Western Cape leader and current head of government business Theuns Botha explained the DA’s approach to government:
The DA has 22 municipalities in the Western Cape. We need 16 out of the 30 to make our statement on the political landscape. We are not willing to have any dysfunctional DA council. It is much more valuable to be a good opposition to a bad ANC council than to be stuck with a bad DA council, sucking energy and damaging the brand.
This is an excellent strategic approach represented by a seasoned politician.
The DA can only grow by attracting ANC voters.
ANC voters support the ANC, at least also, by their Apartheid scars and by the scars, real and perceived, of their parents and grandparents. This abating historical pain, sustained by Orwellian rhetoric and ideological liturgy, barricades voters from leaving the ANC fold, and fortresses the ANC support base.
The DA will incessantly pander to ANC voters.
And the DA does not care about alienating its established support base in this humouring of the great unwashed, because the vast majority of voters possibly estranged by new DA assimilation tactics will vote DA (read: vote against the ANC) in forthcoming elections anyway. The DA knows this full well. Only a small percentage of current support will be lost by ruthless political pimping arrogating as political retailing, being unashamed weathercocking for power at all cost… for the ultimate benefit of all, even those who do not realise that what the DA offers is best for them – because the DA says so.
Political weather-cocking in the unsophisticated South African political consumer environment is a calculated risk with virtually no downside.
And if things go awry, as it did with the current EEB fiasco, reports of Zille’s strong handed fixing fury lulls and reassures the customers. Or not.
Things may not be quite rotten in the State of Denmark yet, but things are certainly addled.
In Sue Segar’s profile on DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuku in the November Noseweek (drafted well before the current EEB crisis) issues closest to Mazibuku is reported to be BEE and employment equity. There can be little doubt that all is not well in the leadership caucus in the wake of the EEB ligte mistykie.
At bottom the DA simply has no other offering but a dubitable claim to be better equiped, than the ANC, to implement ANC policy.
No growth is possible but to lure blacks who voted ANC in 2009. And to lure those voters the DA must look and feel like the ANC. Even then the offering is only ‘try us and see’ – there is no real alternative; there is only a questionable suggestion that the DA will be better at it than the ANC – especially because the DA has not ‘corrupt people’ in its midst.
I give you an entire Oudtshoorn caucus acting in concert with the DA head of government business, the Western Cape party secretary, the legal adviser to the Western Cape DA premier (and national leader) in an attempt to illegally, by a high court judgement, grab power in the council.
I give you an entire Oudtshoorn caucus attempting to con ratepayers out of some R4.5m in legal fees owing and due.
I give you the blundering, foundering, loopval, mendacious mismanagement of the botched campaign to assume power in Oudtshoorn since May 31, even with an elected majority in coalition since August 7, without even a velleity of strategic qui vive and devoid of all semblance of tactical prowess.
I give you specific Swellendam appointments.
I give you Bitou’s Memory Booysen and the housing disaster of his term.
I give you the DA’ s refusal to act against its Oudtdhoorn rogues.
I give you the DA’ s steadfast refusal to act against the outrageous behaviour of the Cope “provincial leadership” holding Eden ransom.
Trust the DA to ‘deliver better’ than the ANC for honesty and integrity!? For ability!?
Are you shitting me!?
There is no difference between the ANC and the DA. None. Aught. Zero. Nada.
Nationally, I suspect one will have to choose between the EFF and Agang as an alternative to the ANC and the ANC Lite. The pantheons help us all.
Provincially, I have no clue whatsoever. Only the ANC and the DA have capacity, albeit fallible, erratic, and unreliable by record. At least the ANC has a steady stream of available caders; the DA has Anton Bredell and Theuns Botha and the like. We are in dire straits. And without the awesome music.
Locally, I recommend that independents and local community based parties be supported… vote for people who report to you and not to Luthuli House or the Marks Building.
Only one thing is certain in South African politics: We are in trouble.
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