South Africa: Opinion | DA Is an Alternative to the ANC, Not an Alternative ANC

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Carol Paton states in the opening paragraph of her analysis of the DA policy conference that "the experiment of playing ANC-lite has been left in the trash heap of history; the DA will now be its own party" ("DA now a party for some, not all, as new race policy entrenches denialism", September 8). If that was all you read of her piece, you'd likely conclude that she was describing a positive development in the party's trajectory. But you'd be wrong. It turns out she thinks the DA blew it by not trying to become a better ANC.

After describing fairly accurately, for seven or eight paragraphs, the DA's reasons for adopting the value of nonracialism along with our new policy on economic redress, Paton drops her big insight: "Black voters, who had been attracted to the DA because it had begun to look like it might evolve into a cleaner, more efficient version of the ANC, have already had that hope dashed by the events of the past year."

Think about that for a moment. The DA, a liberal party committed to a social market economy, a capable state, nonracialism and the rule of law, is written off by a senior columnist and editor-at-large of a major daily newspaper because the party chose not to evolve into a slightly better version of a racial-nationalist party committed to state control of the economy, cadre deployment and wealth extraction for its elite.

Of all the poor analysis, wild assumptions and political bias in Paton's columns -- and there is plenty to choose from -- it is this belief that the only viable alternative to the ANC is another, better ANC that is most deserving of dismantling. As long as SA, particularly the media voices who help shape our political landscape, remains trapped in the hegemony of the ANC, our country will remain trapped in its destructive cycle of low growth, unemployment, poverty and lawlessness.

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