DA’s Congress in Cape Town: What did we learn?

The merger of the ID and DA will complete the DA’s consolidation of opposition voters in the Western Cape and, importantly, will bring the much respected Patricia de Lille into the DA. Further consolidation of other smaller parties such as the UDM will happen if they wish it to, however we will not merge for the sake of growth. The ideology must be compatible, hence there is no discussion around unifying opposition in KZN with IFP who are racial nationalist.

Any consolidation which takes place will do more for the perception that the is DA growing rapidly than anything else. The ID is at the end of the road and other smaller parties are much, much smaller than they were before and the road ahead is looking bleak for them. If they are willing to adopt the DA’s vision of an Open, Opportunity Society for All and agree to comply with our regulations for the selection of candidates (we want the best people for the job), then they will be brought into the fold.

The rocking of the ANC boat will involve the DA winning far more municipalities in 2011 and in more provinces than we currently govern (1 Gauteng, Several WC, 1 EC). Helen has made it clear we’re not here to win for the sake of winning, we have to win in order to govern well and demonstrate what the OOS4All means to people on the ground when put into action.

“As most ANC-run cities broadly subside and most DA-run ones broadly prosper, the political effect becomes a little like compound interest. You don’t notice it at first but after a while it really begins to matter. A lot. It’s about doing your job – everyone doing their jobs -properly.” – Peter Bruce of Business Day

We will use that platform of demonstrating good good government to win over more voters and hopefully win more provinces in 2014 and show the ANC they no longer have a monopoly on power in South Africa and that if they don’t shape up, they might be shipped out in 2019.

Basically, like it or not, democracy needs balance and thus a successful DA will bring balance to our democracy. The DA’s success is thus South Africa’s success.

A comment by Zackie Achmat in his piece “Is the DA the racist old National Party in disguise? Is the ANC inexcusably arrogant?“, lamented “the DA’s rigidly free market pro-capitalist dogma”.

An interesting outcome of the Congress was the voting down of a proposal to restate the DA’s committment to free market principles. The proposal was rejected because we acknowledge that interventions we support such as a wage subsidy are in conflict with the rigid rules of pure free market thinking. We are, instead, liberal in our approach to the economy and thus the strict free market rules do not apply to the exclusion of all others.

Like so many things in life, a balance in inevitably what is needed.

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