Name of Party: Democratic Alliance
Year Launched: 2000
Party Leader: Mmusi Maimane
What it believes: The DA states that it wants to bring about an “Open Opportunity Society, For All” and says its economic and social policies aims to create the circumstances for growth and job creation.
The DA says it will fight corruption by creating fair access to jobs, an honest police service, secure South Africa’s borders, and speed up the delivery of basic services.
History in a nutshell: The party, in its current form, was established in 2000 after the “merger” of the Democratic Party and the New National Party. The NNP would continue to exist, participating in elections but when white voters rejected it in 2004, the writing was on the wall and soon the most prominent personalities including party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk joined the ANC. Those Nats who would not join the ANC, found a political home in the DA although there remained disquiet about the leadership of Tony Leon. In 2007 then rising star, and Cape Town mayor Helen Zille challenged Tony Leon, and won that contest. Using that momentum, and her management of Cape Town’s then fractious coalition politics, Zille made the jump to Western Cape premier after the DA disposed of an ANC administration which had governed after it subsumed the NNP. Zille led the DA until 2015 when she was succeeded by Mmusi Maimane. During her leadership of the party, Zille’s emphasis was to grow the party beyond its traditional white and coloured constituency, based mostly in the Western Cape. To an extent the party achieved that when it made inroads in provinces like the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, managing to either win municipalities outright or govern in coalition after the 2016 local government elections.
Under Maimane’s leadership, and the absence of Jacob Zuma on the ballot paper, the DA’s chances of pushing the ANC below 50%, to force it out of government have been reduced. Instead, the DA has to look to its left on the opposition benches to ensure that the Economic Freedom Fighters does not overtake it as the official opposition.
The DA’s position on the hot button issues:
LAND: The party acknowledges racial dispossession, saying that it has left South Africa with skewed patterns of ownership which excludes a majority of South Africans from land assets, and inclusion in rural economies. The party says it supports a land reform process that seeks to bring about redress, promotes economic inclusion and supports growth and prosperity of the agricultural sector.
CRIME: The DA says crime needs to be prevented before it occurs, when it does occur it needs to be detected, successfully prosecuting criminals, a correctional services that reduces criminality and compensating and providing relief to victims of crime.
EDUCATION: The DA wants to establish an “enabling environment” for excellence in education by improving school management and teacher quality, promoting accountability, aligning education outcomes with the demands of the economy, and creating school environments conducive to learning.
CORRUPTION: Under a DA-government, anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail. The DA’s plan to fight corruption focuses on creating an anti-corruption unit "free of politicians"; bringing in direct elections for all political office holders; implementing regular lifestyle audits for all politicians and government officials, protecting and encouraging ‘whistleblowers’ and making "sex for jobs" a form of corruption.
POLICING: The DA says it will completely overhaul SAPS, curbing corruption, hiring people with a passion for policing and retraining police officers to make the police force honest, professional and one that serves and protects South Africans. It says it will allow capable provinces to take over from the national government and be responsible for running policing.
HOUSING: Under a DA-led government, South Africans who earn less than R 15 000 per month will have three options:
- Stay on the list for an RDP home or GAP housing.
- Sign up for the Home Voucher Scheme. This will give you a R130 000 to R150 000 home voucher which you can use to build/buy your own home. A number of options will be available for people to use their voucher, including the ability to use the voucher to build on a serviced site.
- Choose to live in the city where our governments will work with developers, and release government-owned land, to increase the number of affordable housing options (including rent-to-buy and GAP housing).
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: A DA national government will establish a National Council on Gender-Based Violence with representation from government, the private sector and civil society, and ensure that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill is implemented and involves social development and the criminal justice system. The DA will scrap the "toothless" Ministry for Women under the Presidency and divert its funding to the Commission for Gender Equality and the National Council on Gender-Based Violence. The DA will also seek to ensure 100% of police stations comply with existing and new laws, and regulations that favour protection, fairness and empathetic care for survivors and reporters of domestic abuse, assault, and rape.
ENVIRONMENT: The DA would build a registry of mitigation actions focusing on a number of projects, programmes and policies, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and improved public transport.
STATE OF THE SOEs: To address the crisis facing SOEs a DA national government will implement a programme of full and partial privatisation by bringing in private equity partners and disinvesting from non-core SOEs urgently. This will bring in vital cash injections, skills, systems and expertise to turn-around a number of SOEs, while ridding the fiscus of the burden of the worst performers. State-owned companies that perform tasks that can be more effectively delivered by the private sector can and must be privatised. The DA says it will also dispose of the Department of Public Enterprises and move the management of SOEs under their rightful departments eg Transnet should return to the Department of Transport; Eskom should move to the Department of Energy.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The DA will put policies that help create more small businesses including introducing a start-up visa and other incentives to encourage direct investment by foreign entrepreneurs in the South African economy and partnership with local entrepreneurs. This will be priority within the first 100 days of entering office. Secondly, ease the cost of doing business by exempting small businesses from certain labour and BEE regulations.
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