Can the DA really be expected to bring about change seeing that most of their
members are still white. How is the question of race likely to influence the party
when it comes to handling thorny issues relating to levelling the playing fields.
In order to address the above question, we need to revisit the historical origins of the party; the
reason why its predecessor was established as well as its resillience and effectiveness during the apartheid era. Originally the DA was known as the Progressive Federal Party (PFP) and
was for a considerable period of time under the leadership of the late Helen Suzman. The PFP was the lone voice in the apartheid parliament fighting for fairness. The party made every attempt and that under very trying circumstances to oppose the unfair practices of apartheid. There was stiff resistance from the apartheid regime but the party pressed on. The PFP fought for equality, fairness and justice. Helen Suzman was later succeeded by Dr Frederick van Zyl Slabbert who also continued in the same vein.
The predecessor to the DA cannot be said to have brought us the liberation but they sure did make a contribution towards the achievement thereof. The DA is predominantly white as much
as the ANC is predominantly black and that has to be viewed in perspective. History has
a lot to do with the current standings i.e. race proportions within the parties. In order to
determine whether the DA is likely to bring about the desired change, we must not allow
the race factor to blurr our vision. The DA has served as the main opposition party in the
current dispensation for a considerable period of time. It has made its objectives clear. The
electorate understands what the party stands for. The electorate seems to have fallen in love with the party and the recent local government results bear testimony to this. The DA deserves to be given a fair chance to prove itself. Five years is the official term to be in office and surely the nation can afford to lend them their vote for that period of time to see whether they are able to translate plans and intentions into something tangible.
If they succeed, well and good and if they fail, it is not back to the drawing board but time once again to give someone else a chance. That is the essence of democracy. The DA is definitely not without a track record. They have been running a few municipalities as well as the Cape metro. Are they doing a good job? If not, then how come they have managed to hold on to power in those municipalities. Not only are they retaining power where they govern but they have managed to add more municipalities to their fold. Can their municipalities be regarded as best run municipalities? If we are going to bring about the rainbow nation then it is encumbent upon us to look beyond race and to begin to think in terms of the nation and not the race.