The untold story of the DA

2013-04-28 10:00

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It was with amusement that I read ANC secretary-general Gwede ­Mantashe’s article, “Hands off his legacy” (City Press, April 21 2013).

Never before have I seen the ANC so agitated. Whatever you think about the Know Your DA campaign, it has clearly touched the ANC on its studio.

Why is this? The answer is obvious. The ANC is worried because this campaign cuts to the very heart of its propaganda war against us.

The extent of the ANC’s propaganda offensive was revealed this week when it emerged in a survey that many young black South Africans believe that the DA will bring back apartheid. This is, of course, a ludicrous notion.

We spent years fighting apartheid, so why would we want to bring it back?

But the finding underscored precisely why we need to embark on our campaign – to counter the misperceptions that have been peddled for far too long.

The fact is that our predecessors opposed apartheid and were instrumental in drafting our nonracial Constitution.

Many of our current members and leaders were involved in the struggle against apartheid, some as part of the parliamentary opposition, like Helen Suzman, and others from organisations such as the ANC, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the United Democratic Front and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM).

Most people don’t know that Helen Zille was the Rand Daily Mail journalist who exposed the murder of Steve Biko at the hands of the apartheid authorities.

Even fewer people know that she hid ANC activists at her house during the 1986 period of the state of emergency.

We count in our ranks people like Basil Kivedo, the mayor of Breede Valley, who was jailed for his underground activities as a member of Umkhonto weSizwe.

Our federal chairperson Wilmot James’ involvement in the struggle goes back to his BCM days when his opposition to the Group Areas Act of 1950 saw him detained and imprisoned.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was once a trade unionist and PAC leader. Joe Seremane, former federal chair, was also a PAC member. He spent six years on Robben Island and was further detained without trial from 1976 to 1978, and several times between 1982 and 1984.

Whatever political tradition the above leaders once belonged to, they have since come together under the DA umbrella to redress the legacy of apartheid through good governance, sound policies and delivery for all.

They are at the centre of a new struggle for real freedom in our nation.

We are telling this story as part of our Know Your DA campaign. We want people to know the untold story of DA’s opposition to apartheid, not the fabrications that come from Luthuli House.

The reaction on the ground so far has been phenomenal. People in communities all over the nation are studying our campaign material and are having meaningful conversations with our leaders.

In fact, many have asked why we have taken so long to tell them the full story of who the DA is and what we stand for.

Mmusi Maimane

»?Maimane is DA spokesperson

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