DA rejects use of race in socio-economic redress
IOL - NEWS - POLITICS / 07SEPTEMBER 2020 - 16.01 / SIVIWE FEKETHA
The DA has stuck to its guns and officially rejected the use of race in socio-economic redress as it unveiled its policies on Monday.
Over the weekend, the official opposition reviewed its values and principles as well as its socio-economic policies ahead of its federal congress set for next month.
The DA’s rejection of race meant that the party was opposed to current policies that sought to address imbalances on the basis of race, including Affirmative Action and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE).
DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya said the party’s policy stance was aimed at creating an empowerment policy for the country that was both informed by non-racialism and the need to address the challenge of economic exclusion.
Ngwenya said the DA’s economic policy stance looked at the drivers of economic exclusion and sought to address the problem.
“The key drivers of economic exclusion that we identify in that document are, first and foremost, obviously an incapable state. It means that the government does not have the capacity to deliver on the kind of socioeconomic responses this country so desperately needs,” Ngwenya said.
She added: “We also looked at the challenge of unemployment, poor educational outcomes, a disastrous health system, people who live far away from centres of economic activity and how that keeps people locked out of the formal economy."
Ngwenya insisted that race did not have value in providing targeted assistance to those who needed socio-economic help, as disadvantage would be used as the objective means test for eligibility of support.
The party has been losing key black leaders who accused the party of being against meaningful redress for the black majority.
Since last year, top leaders, including former party leader Mmusi Maimane, former Johannesburg Herman Mashaba, former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and last week, Gauteng leader John Moodey, have dumped the DA as they accused it of representing white interests and no a vision for a shared SA.
At the heart of their departure was the return of former DA leader Helen Zille as the party’s chairperson of the federal council.
Zille is viewed as the driving force behind what has been dubbed the capture of the DA by conservatives who have sought to refocus it on its white traditional support after an electoral setback in last year’s general election.
Zille defended the DA from claims that the conference was a rubber-stamping exercise with a predetermined policy being imposed on delegates.
“That document was circulated to all delegates. Furthermore, every single delegate could make a proposed amendment to any of the policies and we advertised the deadline for amendments as the 16th of August and we reopened the window for amendments just this past week when some people said they missed the deadline and said they wanted to propose amendments,” Zille said.
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