The DA is a Hoax


So last week Solly Malatsi, the DA’s latest national spokesperson, responded to a simple question posed by Simon Grindrod: what does the DA actually stand for?

It is not really a question that uniquely belongs to Simon Grindrod. In fact it is the question I am asked most often.

The problem the DA has is that they are basically a PR machine that settles on values and policy positions based on polling and focus groups. They don’t authentically believe in anything. In the process they constantly expose themselves as dishonest and schizophrenic. When the DA campaigns in black areas they say the things they think black people want to hear.

When the DA hosts meetings in white areas they change the message out of fear of alienating their core supporters. What an insult to the vast majority of white South Africans who want to see our country succeed in a socially and economically just and sustainable way.

In 2016 I was the DA’s Mayoral Campaign Manager in Cape Town. Every day and every night, for seven months, we campaigned across the metropolitan area repeating the promises in the DA’s manifesto.

We were rewarded for that work with a massive mandate and two-thirds of the vote. However, when we tried to implement the party policies and election promises of transformation and integration, printed in beautiful glossy documents, we soon found out that most of the councillors elected under a DA banner, as well as the national leadership of the DA, were not committed to those promises.

I resigned from the DA because it is a hoax.

Its leadership, and many of its public reps, can recite the printed values and latest campaign mantra when they go through the candidate selection process, or make a speech. But, they don’t actually hold those values nor regard policies and election promises as real commitments.

My experience has now been confirmed by DA MP Gwen Ngwenya who resigned as DA Head of Policy. In her letter, dated 18 January 2019, she says “the bottom line is that I do not believe the DA takes policy seriously”.

The DA knows that it needs to grow its support amongst black South Africans if it is to be relevant. So for a few years the mantra that we all had to be able to recite was: “redress, reconciliation, delivery and diversity” - it was called “R2D2” for short.

The commitment to “redress and reconciliation” is the DA’s Achilles heal – they lack the courage and the leadership to do what it takes. No-one in the DA talks about R2D2 anymore – its requires some action and it can be measured.

Today it’s a far more nebulous promise of “One South Africa for All”. Back to Simon Grindrod’s question. Malatsi could simply have responded to say these are our policy positions and this is what we stand for.

However, he could not do that since, as Ngwenya has made clear, the DA is deeply conflicted about policy and is unable to commit to any policy positions. Instead of addressing the question asked by Grindrod, Malatsi assumes that Grindrod is a GOOD member and launches an attack on GOOD and its leadership.

As far as I know Grindrod is not a member of GOOD and Malatsi’s instinct to launch an attack on GOOD is telling. Malatsi wrote that Patricia De Lille and I are facing criminal charges for “maladministration or worse”. This is an outright lie.

Under great pressure from the DA national leadership – and contrary to their stated policy of separation between party and state – the Speaker of Council announced at 7.30pm on the 30 October 2018 that he had reported De Lille and me to the South African Police for “possible corruption”.

This was an act of party interference in the administration of the city.

The DA leadership were worried, beyond their wits, that De Lille would not resign on 31 October 2018, as had been agreed, and this late night press statement was meant to add some pressure. The so-called laying of criminal charges was nothing more than political theatre. It is based on absolutely nothing.

In fact the Bowmans investigation found no suggestion by anybody, no inference, no allegation, no prima facie evidence and no direct evidence of any corruption. The DA abused an ostensibly independent investigation, that they orchestrated, to pursue an internal political agenda.

Malatsi’s statement is false, dishonest and defamatory. Notwithstanding Malatsi’s false narrative, his inability to address Grindrod’s simple question, and the contents of Ngwenya’s lengthy resignation letter, confirms that the DA really is a hoax.

A vote for the DA is a waste of a vote. They lack the leadership and the courage to lead this country.

BRETT HERRON is the Secretary-General of GOOD and former DA councillor and Member of the Mayoral Committee in the City of Cape Town.