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Sandile Mzilikazi Khumalo
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Zille’s Blue Eyed Boys and Girls Are Beneficiaries of Affirmative Action

29 January 2014, 10:34

Zille’s Blue Eyed Boys and Girls are Beneficiaries of Affirmative Action - Why the DA is case study for race based affirmative action

 DA supporters are a funny bunch. In particular the "clever blacks" who use their support as proxy to express a false sense of social progress. Out of expediency, they overlook the condescension and hypocrisy of the white “old guard” within the ranks of their organisation. In trying to manage the divergent interests of the growing party, “which wants to be all things to all people” the party has all but argued itself into a corner.  The ideological cracks have become too wide to be plastered over.

 The DA website states the Party's position on Affirmative Action as being "the DA believes in a truly broad-based empowerment policy that recognizes and rewards skills, hard work and dedication."  This is consistent with the long help party line of how they "don't see race". Informed by blind non-racialism, the DA has stubbornly stood opposed to race based Affirmative Action policies.

 The DA arrogantly advocates for a meritocratic South Africa, with next to no regard of historical context of uneven racial development. It is this puritanical advocacy of this policy, with respect to the transformation of economic participation, which exposes the hypocrisy of the DA.

 The challenge of  growing its support base, has brought the party closer to the reality of race relations in society and how the majority of South Africans  believe a non- racial society can be achieved.  

 So what has the party done in response? Since 2008 the party has invested in the affirmation of black leaders to be fast tracked into senior leadership positions in the Party. These black candidates, with no political track record in general and in particular the the politics of the DA, were elected directly into positions of responsibility to which they had neither the expertise nor the experience some of the white counter parts in the “old guard” may have had.

To date, the DA’s Affirmative Action program can claim among its products Makashule Gana (Deputy Federal Chair), Mmusi Maimane (National Spokesperson and Gauteng Premier Candidate), Lindiwe Mazibuko (Current Parliamentary Leader)  and now Mamphele Ramphele (2014 General Elections Presidential Candidate).  Though they may choose to see it differently, these black leaders are for all intention affirmative action appointments.

 None of these leaders can honestly suggest that they were elected into those positions on "merit" and “merit” alone. Not when the party can draw on more "capable and better qualified" leaders like Athol Trollip  and Dennis Bloom in ranks of the party.

Yet in spite of this reality, the Party has found it prudent to affirm less competent black leaders. The party has pragmatically overlooked better qualified leaders, for the simple reason of them being white males. It would seem black leaders are good enough to be affirmed to lead the DA, yet not good enough to lead corporate South Africa. The DA is quite comfortable with implementing AA in its ranks, yet hypocritically stands opposed to the policy in the rest of society.

 The decision by the party, is in effect is an acknowledgement of the imperative to change.  It speaks to South African’s preference for leaders that look and talk like them in the broadest sense. An acknowledgment that the DA, much like the rest of society, must in content and character be representative of all sections of the people. It is case for race based affirmative action.

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