For most of the 24 years since 1994, it has been apparent that lip service is paid to the principle of non-racialism. Although the DA professes to embrace that idea, by seeking to prioritise racial diversity in its structures (Daily News, March 26), it risks succumbing to racial nationalism and reviving what is supposed to be passed, outlawed classifications.
Having had sight of the five-page submission by DA MPs M Cardo and G Davis, they warn that by “replicating diversity in its own ranks,” the DA risks institutionalising demographic representivity which would hardly distinguish it from the ANC. Indeed, the plea for racial diversity is simply a euphemism for racial quotas which is ANC policy. For the DA, a tipping point looms.
The responses of two black DA public representatives, Gumbi and Mncwango, serve to underline the importance of the warning Cardo and Davis pose. Both Gumbi and Mncwango show that they are mired in the pre-1994 tribal, racial, and cultural identity syndrome. For Gumbi, the principle of fit for purpose and ability in the allocation of positions and responsibilities ceases to be worthy if racial diversity is neglected or “left out,” as he puts it.
By claiming that the model of liberalism, which espouses fair opportunity regardless of race, does not work in Africa, Mncwango reveals his true colours and the extent to which he is at odds with the liberal democratic core on which the DA was founded and which is also the essence of non-racialism.
Gumbi and Mncwango need to appreciate that the DA is not a personal benefit club but a vehicle that aspires to govern. Like a business, it needs to ensure that unless merit is prioritised, the achievement is at risk. They also need to appreciate that they do not own the DA. It was formed long before they came along. If they want principles which are not part of its foundation, then they should form their own party or join the ANC.
Sent into The Daily News and published, 28 March 2018.