Coalitions: The three main enemies of the DA at the moment – OPINION
After its limited success in the recent local elections, the Democratic Alliance (DA) faces three major enemies. They are the communications media, the African National Congress (ANC) and other rival political parties and the ANC once again.
Enemy number one is most of the media, especially political commentary. With a few exceptions, they detest the DA. The media hostility towards the DA is so great that any mistake by the party, any failure it criticizes, where it holds mayors but no majorities in South Africa’s newly elected local authorities, is gleefully overturned while its successes are downplayed will. This is especially true of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, the three city councils that voted their candidates for mayors last week.
Some members of the commentary will be particularly irritated that the DA did not follow their advice to go to bed with the ANC.
In an interview with Alec Hogg on Biznews last week, federal prosecutor Helen Zille said her party “as a minority party could go to any single council meeting that happens to be in government and that may or may not be in government.” until the end of this session ”. This was not the best way to start a bold program of service delivery and manifestos implementation, so efforts would be made to consolidate coalitions based on formal agreements with joint action plans to move cities forward.
To be expected, but without a majority of votes, is “very, very difficult”. In other words, the DA will have responsibility but no power. Rival parties are likely to do their best to make things even more difficult. That is what defines enemy number two.
Enemy number three is the ANC. For a long time she has seen herself as the only authentic representative of black Africans. Because of this, she was at war with rival black parties for the decade or more before she came to power. Once in government, thanks to the influence of the South African Communist Party, the ANC lost little time implementing the ideology of the national democratic revolution to which it has long been committed.
One of the main components of this revolutionary ideology is the use of cadres to conquer as many centers of power as possible. Another is the implementation of affirmative actions to give preference to black Africans in procurement, employment and promotion. Taken together, these actions have helped undermine the effectiveness of local government and fuel corruption.
Ms. Zille’s Biznews interview contained warnings. People shouldn’t think that the prosecution could just appoint their own people and implement their manifesto. “We also inherit municipalities and administrations full of ANC [cadres] and full of people with legitimate interests in maintaining tenders, contracts, and power over appointments to make these critical decisions. ”
You could show the door to top politicians, but behind it there is “a whole network of people who participate”. Among them are “many, many layers of self-interest desperately trying to prevent further erosion of their network”. Corrupt cadres will of course go to court to prevent any attempt to get rid of them.
The ubiquitous corruption is just one of the problems facing the prosecutor or anyone else trying to clean up the local government. Another is what Ms. Zille is dependent on as “that massively hostile bureaucracy that you rely on in any implementation strategy you choose to use”.
The intention and effect of the Soviet-style cadre policy was to create a civil service at all levels of government that was only loyal to the ANC and its ideological goals. This means that all parties that want to implement a different policy will encounter the “massively hostile bureaucracy” of which Ms. Zille spoke.
This is where Cyril Ramaphosa comes in. In the fifth year of his presidency of the ANC, he faces new challenges after the local elections. Does he have the strength of character to tell his party to respect the mayoral election results and to avoid the obvious opportunities to destabilize local authorities that they no longer control without giving them a chance at the massive financial and physical damage to his party to repair? added?
Is he a leader enough to say that? If he says so, will his party take notice? Or is he himself so committed to revolutionary ideology that he will support or tolerate destabilization? Will he just go AWOL like he did during the July Uprising?
Mr Ramaphosa has never made a secret of his support for cadre practice. He also played an important role in enforcing this policy. Will he now tell the local government bureaucrats to implement not his party’s revolutionary ideology but the policies agreed by the new local councils? And that they shouldn’t use their bureaucratic power to obstruct, undermine and sabotage the new councils?
New coalitions may be fragile and mostly united by a desire to keep the ANC out, but they are entitled to a chance to fight. Is President Ramaphosa Democrat enough to tell the nation it deserves this chance to fight?
* John Kane-Berman is a Policy Fellow at the IRR, a think tank that advocates political and economic freedom. Readers are invited to comment with the IRR by clicking here or send an SMS with your name to 32823. Each SMS costs R1. Ts and Cs apply.