Johannesburg – One SA leader Mmusi Maimane and Action SA leader Herman Mashaba say they will not erase race when drafting policies for their respective political parties.
This comes after the DA, which has been dumped by a growing list of black leaders, moved to amend its policies in which it rejected race in all its policies and values this weekend.
The DA revealed it would no longer use race as a means to address exclusion and redress, adding the party was also rejecting race, gender and other quotas which were used to ensure diversity and demographic representation in workplaces and other sectors of society and the economy.
This meant that the DA was now rejecting the redress policies of the current government, including affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment.
Maimane said South Africans and their experiences were not seen if their race was simply wished away.
“Any view that seeks to deny that race exists will ultimately deny the lived experience of many because of their race,” he said.
Maimane said his party was currently pushing for multi-racialism.
“We don’t need to de-construct race. We need to de-construct the stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination that have been attached to race by our painful past. We also need to undo patterns of exclusion that are still based on race. To imagine away race is not the path to achieving this,” he said.
Many of the leaders who left the DA have accused it of being captured by white conservatives and both Action SA and One SA are set to butt heads with the DA for electoral support in next year’s municipal elections.
Mashaba, a former Joburg mayor for the DA, said while his party was still consulting for its policies, it would not leave the issue of redress for black people.
“The reason I left the DA was that they can’t see and recognise us as black people. We will have redress policies and black people are going to be the beneficiaries. But it must be the kind of redress that promotes entrepreneurship in black people and not the one pushed by the ANC that creates cronyism,” Mashaba said.
In its values on economic prosperity, Action SA is very critical of the current redress policies under the ANC-led government due to its abuse by the political elite for personal accumulation.
“The best way to achieve broader participation in the economy is not through race-based policies that favour politically-connected elites, but through improving the ease of doing business for entrepreneurs,” Mashaba says.
The party calls for greater diversity in the private sector, which it says will be achieved through incentives.
The DA is, however, clear in its values on diversity that it rejects any push for racial or gender diversity in any sector of society.
“Each individual is unique and not a racial or gender envoy; thus, diversity is not a demographic representative,” the new DA values and principles state.
DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya said while the party rejected the existence of race, it would still join in the fight against racism in South Africa.
“But just because the belief in race is false, it does not mean people cannot do very terrible things on the basis of that false belief. Throughout history, people have done atrocious things on the basis of false beliefs. Something does not need to be real for people to act on it,” Ngwenya said.