Helen Zille. Picture: REUTERS
Helen Zille. Picture: REUTERS

Last week’s events within the DA were almost inevitable.

Understanding that it would never win an election against the ANC with “Leonian” type policies, the DA tried to become more palatable to voters through adopting a “better” type of BEE and achieved control of city municipalities through Faustian pacts with the EFF.

The political philosophy on which the DA was originally built is European. During the late 1800s this philosophy was imposed on various African nations, but always to the advantage of the European settlers. The imposition could be blatant via the machine gun, or more covert through measures such as the hut tax. The loss of dignity suffered by Africans during the colonial and later apartheid periods resulted in anger and resentment that has not gone away.

The DA’s dream that a growing economy that welcomed African participation would result in an affluent middle class that would support its liberal agenda, worked for a time, until the great financial crash and the presidency of Jacob Zuma. In times of economic hardship and uncertainty liberal principles tend to be discarded, as is now happening throughout most of the Western world.

Culturally, what the DA stands for resonates most in what used to be the Cape Colony, where the Cape liberal tradition was developed by such unsung heroes as William Porter. Under Helen Zille’s renewed leadership the DA could keep control in the Western Cape, leading to a deepening divergence between this DA heartland and the rest of SA.

Despite the global uncertainties of climate change and global recession, a rejection of BEE and its inevitable corruption would boost the Western Cape economy.

However, the continued drag from an incompetent central government would necessitate a parting of the ways. It’s not impossible that Zille might still get her Singapore.

James Cunningham
Camps Bay

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