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Is The Democratic Alliance the Titanic of South African politics?

Cape Town – 29 August 2016

As the RMS Titanic made its maiden voyage,bound for New York from Southampton,departing on 10 April 1912,it was hailed as the world’s first “unsinkable” ship.The word “unsinkable” proved to be an unfortunate choice for both the spin doctors and the shipping line that owned the Titanic.The Titanic foundered and sunk to the bottom of the cold North Atlantic Ocean,after hitting an iceberg at 11:40pm ship’s time,within an estimated 3-4 hours the much celebrated Titanic had foundered,with well over a thousand souls on board.It came to a crashing and disastrous end on the floor of the North Atlantic.

During the 2014 national elections the Democratic Alliance used the slogan “Together for change,together for jobs”.In an effort to promote an anti-poor and anti-working class agenda,the DA has claimed unemployment figures of 8.3 million jobs.What their propaganda machine has not been able to tell it’s largely poor and coloured constituents in the Western Cape however ,how it has not even been able to deliver at least 1 million jobs to supporters in the province it governs.

How does the DA promote the interests of the working class,when its labour policy:

  • Wants to challenge the authority of democratically elected unions to negotiate on behalf of workers.
  • Wants to abolish the power of unions to collectively bargain on behalf of workers.
  • Want to repeal section 18 of the Labour Relations Act,thereby empowering minority unions with the same authority as majority unions,and allowing minority unions to effectively veto the collective bargaining process.

How does the DA promote the principle of economic transformation,when its labour policy:

  • Wants government to assent to a “once empowered ,always empowered” policy.
  • Commit to government to not raising the level of BEE equity ownership beyond 26% 

It is obvious to anyone without a degree in economics,that the DA’s labour and economic policies are not aimed at the poor coloured electorate in the Western Cape,who helps it maintain its power base in the Western Cape,but at preserving the economic and racial hierarchy which is at the core of the party’s power structure.

On that fateful night in the North Atlantic,Captain Edward J Smith ignored the iceberg warnings and chose to push full steam ahead.The DA despite the icebergs on the South African political landscape such as land restitution,social and racial transformation,addressing the injustices of the apartheid legacy,chooses instead to steam ahead on a western-style liberal platform that has no place in a country such as South Africa,in light of the burden of freeing the poor across South Africa from the harsh shackles of the apartheid legacy.

It is a fact that many in the DA would prefer to not disclose,the DA has strong roots in the New National Party that came to the fore in the Government of National Unity during the early days of our new democracy.While it is true that many former NNP members chose to integrate into the ANC,the DA likes to hide the fact that most of the “verkrampte” NNP members chose instead to defect to the then newly formed DA in 2000.

It is now under this umbrella that the DA chooses to continue the work of the old NNP “verkramptes”.Just a cursory look at DA policies will illustrate that their policies are not pro-poor,but simply anti-ANC and anti-transformation.DA policies hark back to an age where anything proposed by the white “baas” is seen as ideologically and intellectually superior to any argument for transformation proposed by black leaders.

Just like in the in the DA run Cape Metropole,conditions for first class passengers on the Titanic differed to the extremely neglected conditions in steerage.Very similarly the DA appointed mayor,Patricia De Lille,has lunch with wealthy white developers in high priced restaurants,then wears a mask while visiting the poor in gang run townships.While foreigners are afforded protection in wealthy areas like Camps Bay,the DA subjects the most marginalised to concentration camp conditions in facilities such Blikkiesdorp,which has been purposely been located far from the CBD,so as not to be a blight on the wealthy oasis the DA has created in Cape Town.

On a warm day in Cape Town,go to any beach spots such as Blouberg or Camps Bay,and you will find Cape Town metro cops issuing fines for expired licence discs to mostly poor black people,in order to maintain those locations as the preserve of the privileged,instead of tackling serious crime in violent gang run hotspots.This is no coincidence, as the DA has continuously shown disregard for the poor and downtrodden.

While the DA may ignore the many social icebergs in Cape Town and the Western Cape,sooner or later it will be struck and  sink under the freezing social conditions it promotes,in an attempt to preserve white and middle class privileges.The question remains,who will receive the distress signal from the poor and the working class,when it sinks to the ocean floor of South African politics.

By Wesley Fester

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