Makashule Gana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Makashule Gana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

The DA has officially rejected quotas in its constitution.

The party however also included taking "active steps" to promote and advance diversity in its own ranks.

The DA’s federal congress voted on Saturday to include diversity as one of its values, but made it clear that it does not mean it would be subject to rigid formulae to determine how diversity is measured.

Even though the reference to quotas was removed from the diversity clause, it is now stipulated under the founding principles of the party’s Constitution.

"The rejection of unfair discrimination on any grounds and the redress of past discrimination, without recourse to rigid formulae or quotas," the principle now reads.

It needed 80% of Congress delegates to pass it as a principle, which would make it even more difficult to change.

The newly adopted diversity clause recognises that SA is a richly diverse society and that diversity is one of SA’s greatest assets.

The clause read that the party celebrated diversity, "and recognised the right of each individual to be who they want to be, free from domination."

It also stipulated that "the party will continue to take active steps to promote and advance diversity" in its own ranks.

The delegates who took to the stage to speak on the amendment, spoke out in support of not resorting to quotas.

The debate on the proposed amendment heated up in the run-up to congress, with DA MP’s Michael Cardo and Gavin Davis speaking out against the original formulation of the constitutional amendment, which they said blurred the lines between what the ANC and the DA stood for.

Davis and Cardo, after their original criticism, wrote a second letter in which they proposed a reformulated clause that would also include a line that "the party will take active steps to promote and advance diversity in its ranks, without recourse to regressive mechanisms such as quotas."

Makashule Gana, a member of the Gauteng legislature for the DA, said now that the value of diversity has been accepted in the DA, the leadership has the mandate to determine exactly how the clause will be implemented. He said this will be dealt with after the end of the congress.