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The DA will continue with its fraught debate on empowerment on Thursday as it works to finalise the policy it plans to take into the 2019 national election. Whether race is a proxy for disadvantage will be one of the crucial questions that the DA will have to answer at the party’s economic commission meeting in Cape Town, ahead of its next federal council meeting in October. It will be at this October meeting that the DA finalises its policies to take to its electorate ahead of the elections. The question is central to a debate on the DA’s empowerment policies that has been brewing over the past few months and which played out publicly as senior leaders in the party contradicted each other on the critical policy issue.

The party was sent into a spin after its head of policy, Gwen Ngwenya, announced in August that it had ditched BEE from its economic policy at its last federal council meeting. DA federal council chair James Selfe said that this was untrue, adding that the DA st...

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