Carol Paton Editor at Large

The DA ended seven years of torturous debate over its identity at the weekend, adopting a new policy on economic justice and clear, new definitions of nonracialism and redress. The experiment of playing ANC-lite has been left in the trash heap of history; the DA will now be its own party. The relief of leaders who briefed the media was palpable.

It has been a long and unpleasant road from 2013, when the party first began to toy with the ideas of racial quotas, with MPs “mistakenly” supporting a bill on employment equity in the National Assembly, and then fashioning its own version of black economic empowerment (BEE). The debates over whether policies on racial redress are acceptable in a liberal party — in which philosophically it is the individual and not the group that is at the centre of society — have divided it ever since.

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