Makashule Gana. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA).

As the DA prepares for its policy conference to take place early next year, some party members are busy lobbying for support of their call for the party to keep racial redress on top of its agenda. 

Among those who were lobbying for the redressing the apartheid injusctice include DA Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana and KwaZulu-Natal party leader Zwakele Mncwango. 

Gana, who was at the weekend defeated by John Steenhuisen when the federal council voted for the interim leader, told Independent Media that the policy conference should make recommendation in favour of racial redress “because the legacy of apartheid is still here”.

The federal council’s 160 members had on Sunday at the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg also elected Ivan Meyer as the party’s interim federal chairperson.

Gana said those who believed there should be redress in the country would now start a process of lobbying those who share a different belief. 

“The important thing is to go to our branches and start talking to each other to find a common ground.

“We must come out with a best solution to address the challenges that face South Africans, and it does not matter what Gana or Zwakele thinks,” said Gana. 

Mncwango said the DA in his province had hoped that Steenhuisen and Meyer would unit the party. 

“And ensure that we are able to discuss policy differences, but we must be able to agree on a common ground and able to have a policy that all members can be able to live with,” said Mncwango.

The official opposition party would hold the policy conference in February. 

Mncwango said party members were still divided over the issue of redressing injustices of the past as some were opposed to it.  

“The truth of the matter is the discussion around the race and whether race should be the proxy is an elephant in the room for the DA.

“We must be honest about these discussions, and we want to see the DA being honest on the issue of economic justice because if we don’t we are going to carry on having a situation, which we are currently facing, where we have inequality as according to recently released statistics it is increasing,” he said. 

Northern Cape DA provincial leader Andrew Louw had late last week told Independent Media that he expected other members, other than Steenhuisan, to emerge as candidates for the party leader position ahead of the policy and elective conferences.

“The real leadership will be voted for in the congress come April. I think it is very important not to read too much into this (interim leader) because the policy conference is going to derive its mandate on what the party wants him or her to do,” said Louw. 

DA MP Gwen Ngwenya who had reportedly been reinstated back as the head of the party policy by federal council chairperson Helen Zille declined to be drawn into the discussion of the redress. It was believed that under Maimane she was removed from the position because she did not believe that race mattered.  

Sources within the DA said Ngwenya felt it would wrong of her to comment on the issue before her re-appointment as the head of policy was confirmed. 

Maimane resigned unceremoniously from the party citing differences on the issue redress as among his reasons for leaving.

Political Bureau