Defend Truth


Yonela Diko’s assessment of ‘Black people who vote DA’ is fact-free


Phumzile van Damme is a former MP, a misinformation expert and a communications strategist.

There is a golden rule in South African politics, predictable as the rising of the sun: whenever the ANC feels nervous, afraid, or under threat, its knee-jerk response is to call its opponents racist and their supporters stupid or worse.

Diko and the ANC are not really democrats and observe only a ceremonial loyalty to constitutional democracy. You would have thought that the punishment at the polls last year would have caused the ANC to roll back on the arrogance and continued insults of South Africa’s voters.

You would think that losing key metros would cause a moment of introspection for the ANC – what is it about the ANC that is causing a loss in support? But so overwhelmingly arrogant and out of touch are some in the ANC, that the only response is to blame, insult and belittle.

Nomvula Mokonyane once infamously told voters in Bekkersdal who were protesting about basic service delivery collapse, that the ANC didn’t want their “dirty votes”. Yonelo Diko’s disgraceful diatribe against black South Africans who vote for the DA is no different.

Diko’s logic is simple and belies his tenuous understanding of democracy and black lives: “The ANC owns all black people, who must all think the same, act the same, and have no individual agency.”

He, and many in the ANC, think themselves the self-appointed custodians of all black lives and minds, and therefore owed an unquestioning lifetime of bondage.

The 2016 election results showed that South Africans reject that patronising arrogance from the ANC with contempt. The DA now governs in four metros and has the honour of being able to deliver better basic services and job-creating economic growth to 16-million South Africans. This triumph was only possible with the support of more and more black voters choosing the DA as the party of South Africa’s future. This frightens our opponents in the ANC no end.

The DA will not be distracted by these attacks, nor will we be silent when Diko and others masquerade discrimination and disdain for black people practising their democratic right to vote for the party of their choice, as “thought leadership”. It is no wonder that the ANC’s support in the Western Cape, the province for which Diko is ANC Spokesperson, continues to lose support in droves. Two-thirds of voters in the City of Cape Town, for example, chose to support the DA – an utter rejection of the ANC’s brand of patronising politics.

Diko and the ANC are not really democrats and observe only a ceremonial loyalty to constitutional democracy. They will continue to spew bigoted rhetoric, with the endorsement of their top leadership, including President Jacob Zuma, who believe South Africans can vote for any party they choose, as long as it’s the ANC, to misquote Henry Ford.

The ANC does not own black South Africans and their choices. No party does and ever will. Regardless of political affiliation, we should all condemn those who use race to mobilise and score cheap points.

As we head to 2019 general elections, where South Africans will elect provincial and national leaders, we are bound to see an even greater assault, by the ANC, on the country’s democratic values and the rights of citizens to make their own choices. South Africans want to see and hear a positive vision for the country’s future, and real solutions to our many complex problems – not the divisive, unthinking rhetoric of a party that has long lost touch with any relevance among voters. It is for this reason that the DA published its Vision 2029  blueprint, which shows South Africans the kind of country the DA will build in its first 10 years in the government. The kind of drivel offered up by Diko is making the prospect of a DA-led national government even more likely. DM


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