Guest Column

'DA is the new UDF'

2011-05-25 10:36

Dear Ferial,
 
I downloaded your recent column on Twitter. I disagree with your premise, which is this:  minority groups in South Africa are abandoning the ANC, and therefore abandoning the “non-racial” project. Even though this may be the ANC’s fault, they are still the party of non-racialism.
 
This is no longer true. They once were, when you and I carried the banner of the UDF with great pride. The ANC has now become a racial-nationalist party.

The DA is the new UDF. We are the most non-racial party South Africa has ever had.  We never once used or exacerbated racial divisions in this campaign, even though we could have, for short-sighted purposes of maximising our vote. We did not.  We kept positive and focused on delivery. The ANC lost the debate on delivery hands down, so they had to make the election about race.
 
There is a completely new ball game in SA politics. The DA grew its support in every community simultaneously (which demonstrates that we do not have to “choose” between race groups or classes).

We grew in every province, and in every municipality we contested. If Cope had held even half its votes in the Nelson Mandela Metro, we would have won there.
 
Twenty percent of our voters now comprise black South Africans. One in four voters voted for us (on a very high turn-out). It is a good platform on which to build. We are also increasingly attracting the most outstanding young South Africans, such as Lindiwe Mazibuko, Mmusi Maimane, Mbali Ntuli, Makashule Gana, Hlanganani Gumbi, Sihle Ngobesi et al.

I have absolutely no doubt that one of them will be President of the country in the not too distant future - on a platform of redress, reconciliation, delivery and diversity. Those four pillars summarise where the DA stands today.
 
We have deep respect for the ANC’s history and the struggle for democracy - indeed some of us tried to contribute where we were, in any way we could - but the ANC today has betrayed that history. The DA is going to fill that vacuum.
 
All the best.
 
Helen Zille

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