Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shanti Aboobaker: Zille's Race Fix

March 16, 2014.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
Johannesburg - The DA is punting itself as the new rainbow party of South African politics, but just five black African candidates made it to the top 27 of its Western Cape candidates list – and that, only after senior party officials stepped in and ordered the promotion of black candidates to ensure greater diversity.

Bonginkosi Madikizela, Nomafrench Mbombo, Nceba Hinana, Masizole Mnqasela and Letta Maseko are the only black African candidates out of the top 27 names put forward for the Western Cape legislature.

Provincial leader Ivan Meyer this weekend admitted that the list of candidates in the province, the DA’s heartland, was even “less diverse” before the party adjusted it and “promoted” black leaders and women.

“We made an intervention when we saw not enough people in terms of diversity were on the list,” Meyer told Weekend Argus on Saturday. “So they (black candidates) have been promoted. It is a much more representative picture. It was worse before.”

He said the final candidates’ list which was released last week had seen an adjustment by 10 percent for “diversity”.

DA leaders familiar with the party’s processes said it was likely that DA premier candidate Helen Zille would form her provincial cabinet from the top 25 people on the list, leading to concerns about a repeat of the “2009-debacle” when Zille came in for severe criticism when she appointed an all-male cabinet, most of them white.

It is understood that Meyer and senior party leaders were asked to explain the lack of diversity at a federal executive meeting of the party in January.

It was the same FedEx meeting where the AgangSA merger was mooted, and the decision taken to make its leader, Mamphela Ramphele, the DA’s presidential candidate. Both the Agang decisions were later rescinded.

As the DA tries to shrug off its reputation as a party of entrenched white and middle class interests, the black African vote is central to its repositioning as a national party, as opposed to one that is only strong in the Western Cape.

Under the direction of Zille, the DA, which garnered 16.6 percent of the national vote in 2009, has pinned the party’s future prospects on up-and-coming young black leaders like parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and Gauteng leader Mmusi Maimane, and set its sights on a 30 percent share of the national vote.

Zille and her DA “brains trust” also launched the controversial “Know your DA” campaign last year to reflect the party’s contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle.
Read the rest here.
Comment: In two decades of post-apartheid rule the DA has been unable to shake off its white party character and reputation.

How in heavens name can they "deliver for all" in a situation where the vast majority of people are not represented?

It always amuses me to see DA folks shouting "viva DA viva".  I'm even more amused when I see many of the same folks toy-toying.

Is this the most that black South Africans can expect from the DA?  Is this borrowed - even stolen - symbolism not merely white prank politics?

Still, the DA will survive in the Western Cape and maybe even grow to challenge the ANC majority in Gauteng and the Northern Cape.

Deluded folks of color - the same ones who would not have raised their voices for justice during apartheid - will conveniently add their votes to the DA's coffers as if to motion a fed-up politics of protest.

The ANC won't lose too much sleep.  Those so deluded are not their home base.

Come election day the chips will fall mostly in the favor of the ANC.


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