Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Former DA leader Tony Leon. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Former DA leader Tony Leon. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The DA is set to reposition itself as a party for the majority when it revisits its economic policies at a workshop next week.

The party is preparing for its fiercest electoral battle yet as it hopes to win a second province, Gauteng, in the 2019 national election. Gauteng is under the control of the ANC, but the DA has made inroads in the province, running the key metros of Tshwane and Johannesburg in coalition governments.

The party also still holds the Midvaal municipality.

It narrowly lost Ekurhuleni to an ANC coalition and lost the Mogale City municipality in 2017 only after some EFF councillors defied their party’s orders and voted with the ANC.

The two-day workshop will be chaired by former DA leader Tony Leon and will include party leaders, economists and representatives from labour and different sectors of the economy.

While transformation will be high on the agenda, a separate workshop on the issue will be held on December 7.

On Tuesday, DA chief of staff Geordin Hill-Lewis said the workshop would also include industry experts. He said the meeting would look at DA policies, come up with new ones and polish old offerings.

Hill-Lewis said the DA last refreshed its economic policies in a vastly different economic climate, putting forward a plan for 8% economic growth. This was not feasible now. "We have to look at policies to address the no growth and skyrocketing unemployment challenge we are facing," he said.

The paper produced would be discussed at the DA’s national elective conference, which takes place early in 2018.

Leon confirmed on Tuesday that his role would be to chair the workshop, which would start on November 28.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane provided some insight into the party’s thinking around the economy at its Gauteng conference at the weekend.

He said the DA had to be a party that worked harder for oppressed and downtrodden South Africans.

"It cannot be business as usual when desperate mothers have to boil weeds to feed their children or scavenge on rubbish dumps for scraps of food. It cannot be business as usual when thousands of children go to school hungry every day and then leave school having been taught nothing all day."

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