David Wolpert perhaps does not understand that the first objective of a political party should be to obtain power in parliament (“Why the anti-DA rhetoric?", September 8). The second objective is to stay there.

To obtain and keep power the party must craft a policy structure that appeals to the electorate. As Carol Paton cogently noted in the last three paragraphs of her article, the DA has failed, and continues to fail, in this understanding (“DA now a party for some, not all, as new race policy entrenches denialism”, September 8).

The fundamental concepts of 19th century liberalism are a valuable backbone in modern Western political theory, to be built on and modified to accommodate current circumstances. To fixate on one aspect and closely relate it to modern views on race and nonracialism in the face of SA history is politically foolish.

What the DA needs to create is a pragmatic and simple-to-understand range of policies that the majority of South Africans can relate to. Think education: Break the stranglehold of Marxist unions over teaching in government schools so that proper result-oriented education is provided to uplift all our children, particularly those in rural areas. Think labour policy: Do away with the inordinate power of Cosatu, exercised to protect often overpaid jobs and its members from free competition in the labour field.

There are many more underemployed and unemployed people than there are union members, a constituency waiting to be appealed to. The whole of government, national, provincial and local, and the state-owned entities, are stuffed with often incompetent employees, in effect bribed at taxpayers' expense to keep supporting the ANC.

Think what could be achieved with the money saved in an efficient and slim government by using it to build schools, technical colleges and general public works. (Just dream of pothole-free roads and streets, and centrally situated social housing, for a start.)

I suggest that Gwen Ngwenya’s reading of the popular view of black economic empowerment (BEE) is wrong. This ANC policy is not liked because it simply feeds the corruption at the top of the ANC. Redrafted and supported by appropriate legislation, training and funding, as above, BEE could be a powerful tool to extend economic participation in our economy to the many who languish unemployed in the ANC/Cosatu workers’ paradise.

Robert Stone, Linden

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