The DA, ID marriage of convenience

2010-07-31 00:00

SO plans are under way for a marriage of convenience between the Democratic Alliance and the Independent Democrats. These are indeed interesting and trying times within the political landscape of this colourful country. If political parties were listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, I would not be far off the mark if I said that parties are experiencing the effects of the global economic meltdown.

Cope is like a family of illegitimate children fighting over who is the heir to the fortune. The IFP is like a tragic hero who is taking a lot of pride in maiming its own and eating its flesh, while the UDM is like Thabo Mbeki, nowhere to be seen. It’s not known whether it’s dead but there is no proof that it is still alive. We would need the mathematic theory of reductio ad absurdum — a method of proving something is right by showing how absurd the results would be if it were not right.

The other excuses for political parties have disappeared and will only reappear come the next elections so they can cash in on the grants given to parties by the Independent Electoral Commission. Talk about winning the lottery every five years.

DA leader Helen Zille and the ID’s Patricia de Lille are now engaged and will soon tie the knot against the backdrop of a high divorce rate and at a time when political matrimony means little, if anything at all. It gets even more complicated when the partners involved are not bringing equal resources to the union. Both parties have very strong characters in the two women leaders but when robust discussions reach a stalemate, I see the DA swallowing up the ID as they have a bigger membership base for starters.

The two parties are governing the Western Cape harmoniously and because of the demographics and their appeal, they have just about taken over the province at both the provincial and local level.

The Western Cape is like a sovereign country.While the other eight provinces share many similarities, the Western Cape bears very little resemblance to the rest of the provinces.

If the party continues to fail to attract and elect black membership into its ranks it will not get rid of its image of being a white party with a small sprinkling of coloured members.

Because it inherited some members of the National Party, there is a perception that its criticism of the current government is nothing more than sour grapes from a party that lost control of the government.

To put this in perspective, because of our historical background and the polarisation of politics, a black person can speak to another black person and have an effect, while a white person speaking to a black person can never achieve the same.

Sad but true, and because of our historical baggage, it will take us a while to eliminate the race factor when we speak about politics.

Dealing with the politics of race within its membership and leadership would be a start for the soon-to-be-merged parties, something the DA has recently failed to do successfully.

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