Time for the DA to put its money where its mouth is

2009-05-02 00:00

We’re starting to feel the effects of the post-apartheid generation, one that bears little or none of the baggage that many of us still shoulder as we go about our daily lives.

For example, when we are in long queues in shopping malls, judging every behaviour along racial lines, to feeling that we are not getting promoted “because of the colour of my skin” instead of our incompetence.

Cape Town is not so much a city but a country by itself, one that is detached from South Africa and has a rare and unheard-of profile in South Africa. Perhaps the Western Cape should just take the route of going solo as a country that has nothing in common with the rest of this country.

It has by far the widest chasm between the rich and the poor in this country and is a perfect example of how the apartheid system was built and what its intended and well-calculated objectives were.

These continue to prevail and no policy from the provincial government has decisively dealt with these disparities as there is little or no political will to reverse these atrocious conditions to ones that are more equitable.

It’s not just about the slums that exist in strife-torn Langa, as opposed to the lush beaches and the immaculate penthouses that adorn Camps Bay, but it is the vastness of the former and the disproportionateness of the latter.

While the super rich are looking for rates cuts for their multi-million rand yachts and their cliff-hanging beach-side homes, the poor and the destitute grapple with bread-and-butter issues, literally.

It would make sense for some of the housing budget to be allocated to the Western Cape, but whether or not that happens is another question altogether as Hellen Zille’s Democratic Alliance heads both the provincial and city metro governance structures, while Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress governs the rest of the eight provinces, as well as national government.

The ruling ANC is going to have to start treating the opposing DA seriously and not just like a chihuahua, as former president Thabo Mbeki used to treat former DA leader Tony Leon. Suddenly the chihuahua has a bit of a vicious bite and not just a harmless bark. Also the DA has not only added to its number of seats in the National Assembly, but it is the first party to take an absolute majority (50% plus one) in the province. It is also likely to retain the majority in the metro council.

It is now up to the DA to deliver, as it has long preached to the ANC to do, and it must not get involved in corrupt practices as the ANC has been wont to.

How it governs the province for the next five to seven years will determine if it improves or undoes all of the progress it has made.

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