Here’s a thought: The Democratic Alliance’s lackadaisical and at times seemingly disdainful attitude toward black voters is one of, if not the biggest impediment to developing a healthy democracy in South Africa.
Think about it. The ANC has been over-promising and under-delivering for almost 17 years now, yet it trounces all the other political parties (except the DA in their Western Cape enclave) come election time. The problem isn’t primarily unyielding loyalty to the ANC by the black masses; it’s the lack of a viable alternative. For many, myself included, the DA is not a viable alternative, and this tweet from the party’s chairperson of the Cape metro region, Grant Pascoe, sums up the reason why:
16yrs on into our democracy and the black majority still claim the white minority is oppressing them. Am I missing something???
Yes, Mr Pascoe, you and the DA are missing something. Almost 12 million somethings, actually.
As encapsulated in this tweet, the DA has done sweet nothing to understand the black majority. When the DA is told that black professionals feel that Cape Town is a racist city, their leader Helen Zille dismisses it as ANC propaganda. When the residents in the Makhaza area bemoaned having to use toilets without walls and the Human Rights Commission ruled in their favour, Helen Zille went on the offensive again with a disingenuous response that showed no real understanding of the problems faced by the people who she expects to vote for her party.
Examples like these of the DA’s casual disregard of issues affecting black voters are plenty – at least enough to allow black voters to continue to distrust the DA. How can the DA expect that this group of people – who the party has not tried hard enough to understand, engage or cater to – will vote for them? It can’t. I won’t.
What our democracy needs most right now is a strong opposition party that represents a viable alternative to the ANC, and at that the DA has failed abysmally thanks to its attitude. And worse yet, the DA, I am beginning to suspect, has become an impediment to other parties that could potentially become the kind of opposition party that South Africa needs.
P.S. Yes, Mr Pascoe’s coloured, but his attitudes/views are shaped and influenced by his party.