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Is the DA the Party of the people?

23 March 2012, 11:16

Western Cape Premier and leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance political party, Helen Zille, had been accused yesterday by the ANC as being a racist for her perceived "exclusionism" of black people and as some called it "her barking like a dog at refugees" who relocated from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape in search for a better life.

Criticism of the DA and Helen Zille in particular had been coming thick and fast recently,even by News24 ANC readers and bloggers.Critics had been saying that in Cape Town the breaking down of Apartheid Era racial segregation and inequality had moved alot slower than in it did in other parts of South Africa.Are their claims deemed valid?

Were Helen's comments taken out of context,misappropriated,misapplied,misplaced,misinterpreted or even twisted by these ANC supporters? Known as the World Mayor of the Year in 2008 from a field of 820 other mayoral candidates,its hard to comprehend that a woman that has done so much in her lifetime in fighting crime,racism, drug abuse and unemployment in Cape Town,would be classed as a shameless bigot with ulterior motives.

Or as the ANC National Spokesperson,Jackson Mthembu,said on March 21,2012:"We have always maintained that the DA views blacks as useful voters to win elections and nothing else. We call on all black DA members to see the DA for what it is, a white racist party. We also call on all those blacks who are in leadership structures of the DA for window dressing purposes to resign from the DA and not be used unduly. Such utterances must not be tolerated as they generate a negative feeling in those who suffered under colonial and apartheid rule". 

Can you get your head around such mindless drivel? That is to say if one can even call such nonsense that!

Helen has many accolades and achievements over the years and apart from being voted the World Mayor of the year in 2008 by people not even South African , she was also chosen as the Newsmaker of the year in 2006 by the National Press Club in July 2007, and was a former finalist in the South African Woman of the Year Award. She speaks English, Afrikaans,Xhosa and German, Deutsch being the language of her parents. So she has quite a CV to go by looking at her background.

Since Helen Zille took over the reigns of governance in Cape Town from the ANC,the Western Cape had grown remarkably fast economically and otherwise in that it's GDP for Cape Town rose by more than 130% from the R116.6billion when the ANC controlled the Western Cape to R269billion in 2011. Prudent and thrifty management indeed. Helen and the DA also managed to reduced the rate of unemployment in the Western Cape from 21.7% to just under 17%.Offcourse joblessness is still major issue as even the Cape does not create enough jobs for the locals, but still she and her DA Party has done very well for most Capetonians so far over there. Service delivery in the entire Western Cape has risen to above the 15% mark compared to the rest of the country and Cape Town city debt levels have been reduced to under the R1billion mark since the DA took charge of the Province.So we spend wisely in the Cape and don't incur unnecessary debts or live beyond our means.


The DA has increased broadrange housing delivery annually to 7000 units,whereas the ANC could only managed to increase it to 3000 units annually in Cape Town when they were in charge.So more than double. Even though housing is a provincial matter for Government and part and parcel of our Constitution rather than a local municipality matter,Helen Zille has still done more than she could for her constituents. She has also raised the subsidies on the indigent database and ensured that electricity was supplied to informal settlements in and around Cape Town despite the fact that Eskom at time refused to supply electicity.The DA has a budget in place for this and ensures that water,health care and sanitation are suitably cared for in the Province.

How can Helen Zille's DA then win the next election?

So far Hellen Zille has challenged the ANC government on a number of issues,including wanting to hold,mr Jacob Zuma, to a public debate on at least ten key issues in the past. Can we draw a lesson from what Americans did in their early days of DEMOCRACY on this? Yes we can!

Up until 1828 since its independence in 1776,America was ruled by just one party known as the Democratic-Republicans Party. Democratic meaning the will of the people, and Republican implying rule of law  or the protection from a potential tyranny of the majority. In 1828, popular war-hero Andrew Jackson became the first President from a new party,known as just the Democrats, or the true "party of the people".Between 1840 and 1932 the Republicans ruled America for 72 years and the Democrats for just 20 years in total. From 1929 onwards the Democrats ruled America continuously until 1968 except for two terms by Dwight Eisenhower,a Republican.

What made the difference? The nature of the Democratic Party changed dramatically,not fundamentally just altered dramatically. Instead of catering for the hard-working middle-class families,they've become the party of the poor?

Is the DA then the party of the Sheriff of Nottingham or the party of Robin Hood as far as majority of black South African voters are concerned? Poor people in South Africa, who are somewhat often under-educated and socially illiterate,had been far too easily swayed since 1994 to vote against their own interests. Driven by and too preoccupied with the ANC's Liberation tear shedding BS than anything else. The ANC have lost their moorings and their identification with the poor and the unprivileged,by their corruption,the taking of bribes, accusations that meet counter-accusations etc.And the DA should really capitalize on all that.

Can the DA finally represent the interests of the poor and increasingly disenfranchised middle-classes in South Africa and take over as the party of the people? Who know's.In time most South Africans,black,white,coloured or indian might surely one day have identified themselves as DA supporters. Most people in South Africa vote ANC,even though they identify and agree with the DA's position on matters. It's ignorance,free everything this or that and misplaced loyalties that still make them vote ANC.The DA represents real values,not empty promises, as the Western Cape Municipalities have shown as they are the best run in the entire country.


1. A Brief History of American Major

3. Zille's 'refugees' remark racist, says ANC- Independent Online?.


4. Helen Zille's comment on ECape refugees racist - ANC . with/cape town.

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