There is now clear blue water between the DA and other political parties in SA after their recent policy conference. The DA has recommitted itself to the principles of nonracism and redress on which it was founded, and proposed alternative redress policies to the failed race-based policies that have not materially affected the lives of South Africans, other than those few members of the well-connected elite.
Contrary to the submissions of some writers and analysts, the DA has always acknowledged the devastating impact racism has had on South Africans. As my colleague, Mike Cardo, MP, pointed out in an article five years ago, race shaped access to opportunity in the past and it continues to do so in the present (“New leader must redefine the politics of non-racism”, April 16 2015).
Where the official opposition parts ways with other political parties is our belief that using actual, means-tested disadvantage makes more sense than making race the measure of disadvantage when it comes to redress. The mere fact that the number of unemployed South Africans, the overwhelming majority of whom are black, has increased dramatically over the past two decades is a clear indication that making race the measure for redress is not the solution. The promised “better life for all” remains elusive, except for a small, well-connected elite.
During the coming weeks and months, the DA will be further fleshing out our alternative proposals and taking the message to the public that race-based redress isn’t the only game in town, and that there are other, more effective ways to undo the legacy of our divided past and create the prosperous SA envisaged in our constitution.
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