12 February 2019

South Africa: DA Federal Council Backs Race-Based Empowerment but Confusion Remains

analysis

The DA federal council this weekend confirmed that its empowerment and redress policies will for the time being be linked to race, which was quickly criticised by the Institute of Race Relations. It's unclear, however, just what those policies are.

Frans Cronje issued a warning to the DA on Monday. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) chief executive accused the party of playing by the ANC's rules, pandering to populism and stifling internal debate.

He said DA leader Mmusi Maimane lacks "intellectual clarity and moral authority", which has divided the party and will ultimately see it descend into authoritarianism.

"When a party cannot even debate an issue, that is when political death sets in," said Cronje ominously in a statement. "It starts internally, closing minds, before it spreads externally. Eventually, all that is left is an empty, hollow shell."

The IRR was incensed by the DA federal council's decision over the weekend to maintain race as a proxy for disadvantage in its economic empowerment and redress policies. The debate over whether redress should be race-based has a long history in the DA with its various stripes of liberals pushing their own view on the party's core values.

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