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The DA’s Disingenuous Dealings: How the party lied to South Africans

Luzuko Buku is a former Secretary General of the South African Students Congress(SASCO) and a former PEC member of the ANC Youth League in the Eastern Cape. He is serving on the Council on Higher Education( CHE), an independent statutory body charged with advising the Minister of Higher Education and being a quality council for the Higher Education sector. He works for the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the Eastern Cape.

The recent “deal” between the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive and its former leader, Helen Zille, exposes the fact that the DA deliberately lied to achieve its political party interest.

In his 1532 political treatise, The Prince, Italian political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli makes a statement that “the end justifies the means”. Many have interpreted this to mean, “It is plausible and correct for an individual to do anything, even if it means murdering or lying, to obtain a desirable outcome.”

The recent “deal” between the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive and its former leader, Helen Zille, exposes the fact that the DA deliberately lied to achieve its political party interest.

The high order facts are that Helen Zille has accepted a guilty verdict for her racist rants where she defended colonialism by saying that “… those claiming legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”

After months of arrogantly defending herself, Zille has finally admitted that she is a racist and has agreed to be suspended from the DA’s activities in order to shield it from further negative publicity.

The main concern of the DA is not that it wants to defeat the legacy of colonialism, in society and in its ranks, but that the comments by its former leader expose the deeper feelings of the rank and file members of the organisation. The organisation has thus been exposed as a political platform of white racists, albeit with some tokenism, bent on reversing the gains of our current dispensation.

Former President Nelson Mandela was indeed correct in his counsel that, “Never be misled about this DA, it’s a bosses’ party and a racist party. No matter how many black stooges it paraded as its leaders, remember that.”

The public display of the DA as a non-racial organisation whose mission is to defend and deepen democracy has over the years been exposed as a decoy. The wolves are now coming out of the sheep skins and they are in the open, bare, for all to see. These are high-order facts that are indisputable and it is not my intention to delve deeply into them here.

I am more interested in the other lie that the settlement is exposing; the lie about the political responsibility of the DA and its leader as an official opposition in South Africa. There is a narrow upward mobility obsession in that organisation in a manner that is self-serving.

When the DA took over the City of Cape Town from the ANC through a multiparty forum in 2006, Helen Zille was the candidate for election as mayor and thus got elected into this responsibility. This meant that the leader of the official opposition was now serving as a mayor in a local council.

An interesting story of how the debate on this unfolded within the DA during the time is narrated by former DA leader Tony Leon in his book, The Accidental Ambassador: From Parliament to Patagonia (2013) where he complains that:

“… I had warned her (Helen Zille) that there was a danger in seeking to combine the position of national leader of the party with the post she then held as a mayor of Cape Town …I had no doubt about Zille’s stern fealty to principle or her wide popularity in both the party and the media. But I thought that her decision to be leader-mayor would lead to a diminution of Parliament” (Emphasis added).

As we all know, Sandra Botha became leader of the DA in Parliament in 2007 while the party leader, Helen Zille, was mayor of Cape Town. Tony Leon states that this meant that the leader of the official opposition was not handling main discussions on national legislation and policy but was dealing with day-to-day municipal matters.

The justification that was given by the DA at the time was that because Cape Town was one of the first key municipalities that the organisation was governing, they needed to show their model of governance as a sample for South Africans. The supposed idea was that the leader ought to be the one that is at the helm of that municipality in order to further draw attention to it.

This was the same justification that was used when the post of Western Cape Premier opened up and Zille had to snatch it. The obvious fact is that the party existed for the upward mobility of its leadership, more particularly its leader.

The arguments that were raised were just meant to conceal the power ambitions of Helen Zille and hide the fact that the DA was populated by a power elite with a keen interest in fancy possessions.

The announcement by Zille that she would step down as leader but still continue to serve her full term as premier was a bit strange. It was against the earlier arguments that the DA made in justifying her being mayor and later premier.

With the recent deal, this means that the premier of the Western Cape is operating under new conditions in the party with the party leader still lingering in Parliament. It is even clear in the national assembly that the DA is led by John Steenhuisen, not Mmusi Maimane.

The deal exposes, for all to see, the fact that South Africans were told lies that the DA leader was duty bound to occupy a senior position in government in order to show the party’s “model of governance”. Clearly this lie shows that the party is populated by individuals driven by a toxic axis of power and racism.

The obsession of the DA with the hope of one day governing South Africa is concerning as it now obviously subscribes to the logic of, “the end justifies the means” even if it means “murdering or lying”.

Finally, the lies are exposed! DM

Luzuko Buku is a former Secretary General of Sasco and writes in his personal capacity


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