Know Your SA Political Parties (part 4/5): the Democratic Alliance


On 1 March, South Africa will hold local government elections, which will determine who will run our cities and towns for the next 5 years.

Let’s pay a visit, shall we, to a party that might actually get somewhere on election day, the Democratic Alliance.

Party: Democratic Alliance (DA)
Leader: Tony Leon, MP
Constituency: School-tie wearers & their wives.
Status: Official Opposition
Election strategy: Oppositional officiousness, plus race-card dealing!
Prospects: Inchworming several further inches along the road to power.


Extended Analysis
The DA is the only party – apart from the ruling ANC – of any real national standing in South Africa. Because it risks the most with each election (it’s perpetually in danger of being dragged down to small-party status by gnats like the ID), it runs particularly nasty, deeply insecure campaigns, which mostly involve handing out race cards like “Grand Opening!” flyers.

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Let it not be said, however, that DA dictator-for-life Tony Leon and his strategists haven’t learned the lesson that politics is local. Among their many ugly, photo-free posters, the one shown here is my favorite, because it’s a word-for-word appropriation of an apartheid-era campaign slogan. “For All the People” was the hearts-and-minds battle cry of one of the DA’s antecedents, employed in Cape Town to rouse emotions among liberal whites, after Coloureds were deprived of the vote by the apartheid government.

Nowadays, the phrase aims to rouse emotions among Coloureds: it implicitly compares the ANC to the old National Party, accusing the ANC of treating Coloureds with the same disrespect as the former racist rulers. It’s subtle, powerful, and, given the size of the Coloured vote in the Western Cape, could help the DA recapture a host of municipalities here.