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2014 Elections: Is DA ready to govern?

21 February 2014, 15:04

2014: Is the DA ready to govern

As the national elections inch closer, daggers have been drawn as all olitical parties battle to attract the hearts and minds of South Africans. Here I analyse whether the DA is ready to govern.

In this writing I will argue that although the DA has done well as an opposition party, particularly under Helen Zille, to prevent a de-facto one party state, which obviously is not good for any democracy,  but several reasons show that at this stage they are not yet ready to govern and their fast-track acceleration to power at this stage may be an invitation of disaster and at the worst may bring a civil war in South Africa.  I personally admire Helen Zille. She has adapted very well to the demands of African politics but she needs to understand that the dynamics of African politics go beyond toy-toying.

Current debate in South Africa has focused on the weaknesses with the ANC. Yes, the ANC, like any other party has got its own weaknesses so, to an extent, the debate has been sound. Local and international media have preyed on the widely gullible public whom they have bombarded with their perceptions which often betray outright sabotage. The black middle class has surprisingly fallen victim of the biased reporting and outright misinformation.  Perceptions of failure of leadership have been peddled and repeatedly recycled to such an extent that they have become believable to the simple mind. By inference, many commentators have sought to present the Democratic Alliance as a ready alternative. Yes it is an alternative. But is it Ready? No, not at this time!

 Helen Zille carved her more prominent political career by having been an anti- apartheid activist and that, without argument, qualifies her to stand shoulder to shoulder with some who fought the evils of apartheid. Equally also, that should give her the basic understanding of how some people’s sacrifice brought about the democracy which we all cherish. But she has thrown all that to the wind if one considers how much disrespect she has shown for our former liberators like President Zuma and others. There is a way that a leader who aspires to occupy the high office is expected to conduct herself when criticising other leaders particularly those who paid dearly during the days of segregation and torture. Zille is expected to know that basic issues of respect will render her party acceptable not only to all South Africans but regionally as well. As of today the party does not command the respect of any credible African leader. That should be a worry for a party that claims to also have the interest of all South Africans. Regional cooperation, being pursued by the ANC, is clearly the noble way to go.

The DA must keep their heads cool and sober. This is the time for them to be busy, not critising the ANC leadership only, but, working on mechanisms and policies to transform South Africans’ lives. This will be a vital measurement of their aim which they say is to better the lives of all.  It has often been argued that the DA has failed to utilize the Western Cape, where they currently govern, to demonstrate what they claim. A clear transformation agenda will earn the promising party a place in the hearts of more people.  Closing schools which affect the majority poor families was one of their most unfortunate undoings. Instead of their usual song of “lack of leadership”, they must, instead be seen to be giving leadership. Talk is cheap, any fool can talk.

Their most immediate task should never be catapult themselves into power my means that border on foul play especially now when there seems to be a growing chorus, from particularly the youths, who have been vehemently lobbying for drastic policy shift to address the past imbalances. Because the DA has benefited from the apartheid legacy, by being home to owners of capital, and some of the most powerful within the judiciary, business and the media, they have the capacity to sway people against their ANC government through recycling exaggerations against them. This is a wrong tactic on the part of the DA. If it is true that there has been, in the past, a mistrust of the DA by the majority of South Africans, then it calls for more careful approach which emphasizes more on works not just criticism. If you listen to Talk Radio 702 and other stations, for example, you would for a moment think that South Africa is in worse trouble than Zimbabwe. That clearly is not fair. If South Africa is in a crisis as the DA and its media seek to convince us, then what shall be said about Zimbabwe, Sudan and others?  It only betrays a clandestine media political agenda. I am not in any way implying that they should sing praises of government but there should be objective in both the ANC government and other opposition parties.

Most of the current “defenders” of democracy were conspicuous by their absence when the current leaders of the ANC were in the trenches selflessly fighting for this democracy which they are today being accused of threatening. Who should teach who here? Am I missing anything? Even the likes of FW De Klerk can now publicly chastise the ANC policies.

 The impeachment fiasco and the Nkandla debacle has undeniably confirmed the DA’s lack of respect for the elected leadership of the nation. Much of the childishness that South Africa has witnessed in Helen Zille’s antics is difficult to explain. That she leads a bunch of clueless people to the President’s private residence in a publicity seeking stance is beyond me.  That she wants to lead her youths to Luthuli House is futher beyond me. These just expose her as the face of the old regime that seeks to sabotage in an effort to fast-track their ascendancy to power in order to stop the empowerment of all people within South Africa.

 The only way the DA is going to rule goes beyond just having a black face at the helm. It is a winning in the ideas battlefield and keeping level headed and wooing one heart at a time.

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