Politics / 11 February 2019, 08:17am / Mayibongwe Maqhina
Johannesburg - Just weeks before unveiling its manifesto, the DA announced that it has dumped Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) as party policy before the May 8 general elections.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane made the announcement at a press conference in Cape Town to report on the outcomes of the party’s federal council meeting held at the weekend.
“On the matter of redress and empowerment, the manifesto is clear: we believe race is a proxy for disadvantage and an accurate reflection of who is still excluded from opportunity.
“The party has not decided to move away from race-based redress policies, however, we unequivocally reject the ANC’s version of redress which operates to enrich and re-enrich the connected elite,” Maimane said. “Our offer is truly broad-based in that it seeks to break down the wall that exists between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.”
The dumping of BBBEE by the DA comes almost three weeks after DA MP Gwen Ngwenya resigned as the party’s head of policy.
In a four-page document sent to Maimane on January 18, Ngwenya said the official opposition did not take policy seriously. She recalled her fallout with federal chairperson James Selfe when she penned an article on the DA’s plan to ditch BBBEE policy for an alternative, having quoted Maimane from his Bokamoso newsletter.
“That was probably the moment at which I should have tendered my resignation, when I was hung out to dry, without so much as a phone call, for reiterating what the leader had a month ago already said, albeit within the relative safety of a DA newsletter.”
On Sunday, Maimane said the federal council unanimously adopted that party’s manifesto, to be launched on February 23 in Joburg.
“The manifesto is centred around a solid plan with workable solutions to fix our economy, and we believe it will resonate with South Africans who want immediate change in our nation,” he said.
He also said they were aiming to add two more provinces after the May elections in addition to the Western Cape.
Maimane said the federal council reaffirmed their 2019 election targets of winning Gauteng and Northern Cape as well as retaining the Western Cape and grow their share of votes nationally.
“We are more convinced than ever that we will achieve these targets as our own research shows significant weakness in the ANC across the country - particularly in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.
“Our research shows that the ANC is well below its 2014 election results, whereas the DA is polling ahead of our 2014 election results. This is encouraging and shows that South Africans are tired of the status quo and are desperate for immediate change,” he said.
Maimane tore into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, saying it was an attempt to reassure rather than reform.
“The president failed to announce any real measures for reform, resorting to his now trademark style of talk-shops, summits, commissions and meetings which to date have brought about very little tangible change.”