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2019 Elections: DA has “cleansed itself”, says leader

A Mpumalanga Democratic Alliance (DA) leader believes that her organisation has “cleansed itself” when it lost some white voters to right-wing parties.

“When I say cleansing itself, I believe that the people that have left don’t believe that the DA represents them. When I go to a party – when I go to EFF – I believe that the party represents me, because as a voter you cross where you believe you are represented,” said DA leader Jane Sithole.

The recent national and provincial elections held earlier this month, saw the resurgence of exclusively white and right-wing organisations, such as the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

Sithole accused the FF+ and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of campaigning along racial lines.

“Both parties are organising on the basis of racial hatred. The FF+ went on a mobilisation of racial hatred which then I believe those who believe in those policies left the DA.

“The EFF also mobilised on the basis of racial hatred and it came with its own benefits,” said Sithole.

Ironically, the FF+ adopted the same campaign line that the DA used in its 1999 election campaign, “Fight Back” which worked for the DA (called the Democratic Party at the time).

Political analysts described the DA’s “fight back” campaign as a fight to reverse black majority rule. The campaign seemed to have succeeded to attract white right-wing members of the then National Party and other parties to the DA.

Identity crisis

But the DA started experiencing an identity crisis. It had to choose if it were a party of racial hatred or a liberal party that accepted that black people should vote.

When Helen Zille took over the leadership of the DA in 2007, she changed the direction of the party. The organisation no longer focused on issues facing white people, but also capitalised on the service delivery issues facing black people.

While the organisation managed to get black voters, the DA failed to silence black leaders who supported transformation policies of the governing African National Congress (ANC), such as the Black Economic Empowerment.

When a defiant black DA member of parliament, Sej Motau voted in favour of the Black Economic Empowerment, Helen Zille demoted him from the labour portfolio, but when Mmusi Maimane became the leader of the DA, he promoted Motau to the portfolio of “shadow minister in the presidency”.

Sithole says that the departure of those who do not support diversity in the party, would help clear the myth that the whites who violate the rights of blacks in Mpumalanga are DA members.

“I’m not saying that all the white people that have left the DA are bad or whatever, it’s just that they don’t believe in the principles that we are building one South Africa for all.

“And if it means that us losing a particular electorate, let it be, than us sit with a particular electorate that doesn’t share our values of one South Africa for all.

“Now if you stay with the DA, you know what you are in for. Those who left, they know that they are “slaan terug” (Fight Back),” said Sithole.

No reason for the DA to exist, FF+

Mpumalanga FF+ leader, Werner Weber, hit back at Sithole.

“The (allegation) is unfounded. There’s no racial hatred at the FF+. We are just protecting people against the onslaught of the ANC against Afrikaaners in the main and Indian and Coloureds.

“There’s no justification of the DA to exist. If the leader of the DA walks and talks like ANC, he is ANC.

“People who should be his icons are Helen Zille, Tony Leon and Helen Suzman, but the icon of the Mmusi Maimane is former leader of the ANC, (Nelson) Mandela. Maimane is a blue ANC, therefore the policies of the DA are similar to the ANC,” said Weber.

He said that the “Fight Back” campaign was aimed at the ANC’s policies which were discriminating against whites, Indians and coloureds.

When asked if he also accused the ANC for the “discrimination” of coloureds in the Western Cape and Cape Town where the DA is governing, he was adamant that the ANC was responsible.

“Appointment on racial lines is from (national) government side. Every appointment is discriminating against whites, coloureds and Indians,” he said.

Mpumalanga EFF leader, Collen Sedibe, said that members of both DA and FF+ were responsible for perpetrating racism in Mpumalanga province.

“It is myth from the DA that the EFF was mobilising through racial line, the DA and the FF+ are the the biggest culprits of racialism in Mpumalanga.

“Look of all the incidents that happen in the farms and at work places they are all done by white people who are mainly DA and FF+ members.

“They are both the defenders of racism and never exposed or condemned any single incident of racism that take place in the province everyday.

“They are threatened and feel uncomfortable by the parliament’s anonymous decision to review Section 25 of the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation as the raised by the EFF,” said Sedibe.

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