CAROL PATON: DA’s growth creates identity crisis around race and liberalism
Moving on to try to capture a share of the African vote, the DA found it was no longer a liberal party
The DA is again at sixes and sevens over race. As race is the issue that perpetually trips it up, this is no surprise. The party’s stance on it goes to the centre of its identity. Unfortunately for the DA, as it moves to clarify its position through, for instance, revising its policy on BEE, its internal problems will get worse, not better. Most political parties are founded on values or a central objective unequivocally shared by its members. A nationalist party such as the ANC, for instance, is easily able to forward a compelling case for why it deserves the support of the black majority. Its raison d’être is a commitment to further the material aspirations and circumstances of the nation, and particularly those of African people. At its genesis as the Progressive Party in 1959, the DA was established on values that were liberal: a political philosophy in which the individual rather than the group is seen as primary and the most important unit of society. The values espoused by li...