DA triumphant at congress
Cape Town - A mood of triumphant jubilation marked the first day of the Democratic Alliance's triennial federal congress on Saturday - the first since the 2009 election - with policy resolutions urging DA all-party governments to follow the successful examples of what has been achieved in Cape Town and the Western Cape.
There was also a kind of school prize-giving, where trophies were awarded for the best fund-raiser, the best constituency, and the best structure for each year since the last congress. The award consisted of a framed certificate and a hug from party leader Helen Zille.
The Free State won the best province for 2008, but not surprisingly the Western Cape won the 2009 award. Mitchells Plain in Cape Town was named as best constituency.
Robin Carlisle, the MPL representing the constituency, pointed out that Mitchells Plain started out by electing only two councillors. A series of by-election results lifted that total first to four and then to nine. "Now we have the whole bloody lot," he crowed.
"If we can do it in Mitchells Plain, we could do it in the whole of South Africa," he added.
The congress passed resolutions congratulating Helen Zille, thanking her for her inspirational leadership and pledging full support to her.
Another resolution rejected the cadre deployment policy of the ANC, saying the policy was used to by-pass constitutional constraints against power abuse by employing people whose loyalty to the ruling party overrides their constitutional commitments.
One other resolution called for more forensic laboratories to be built and to merge the police labs with the health department's forensic chemistry labs into a single private-public partnership. The same resolution also called for an increase in the number of police members to 250 000 and to employ an additional 30 000 detectives.
Delegates also voted unanimously to oppose the establishment of a national health insurance scheme, but instead to call for the improvement of service to the South African public by outsourcing the management of hospitals.