White supremacy is oxygen for the Democratic Alliance. Without it, it will snuff itself out, writes Kim Heller. The article first appeared in Weekly Expose
The leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane has previously stated with unmitigated swagger that ‘if you’re a racist and you are thinking of voting for the DA, please don’t. We are not the party for you”.
It is a noble sounding string of words but this statement could be the death call for this political party so fixed in whiteness. White supremacy is oxygen for the DA. Without it, the party will struggle to breathe and will snuff itself out.
The DA should not be at pains to disassociate itself from the latest spew of white supremacy from Helen Zille, on colonialism. One would expect that such sentiments resonates well in a party which is the uncontested bastion for whiteness in South Africa, even if social media policies decry such public chatter.
Despite multiple attempts to mask its history as benefactor and beneficiary of deeply oppressive racist rule in South Africa, the DA has failed to win the confidence of black South Africans. Only 6% of black South African voted for the party in 2014 which translates into just over 750 000 votes. The party has miniscule support in ‘black townships’ and its triumph in gaining key strategic strongholds in the recent local government elections was on the back of hard earned EFF votes in metropolitan centres. A devastating move, in my opinion, by EFF, which has served to amplify white economic power, arrogance and racism, even if that was not the intent. It is a decision I am still hoping EFF will review and reverse.
The DA has become a master of expedient political trickery. Attempts to manufacture an alignment with Mandela, Maimane’s citing of Biko, the attendance at a commemorative service in Marikana and at the high profile racially charged ‘coffin case’, are nothing but poor grade advertising stunts. The ribcage of DA today is white supremacy; as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. The party’s PR has simply been re-versioned and refashioned, on the spine of imported spin-doctoring.
Don’t be fooled.
I have seen white supremacy in the DA up close. I was at the Opening of Parliament in 2014. I heard how some of the white DA MP’s spoke to Maimane, in that well exercised blend of patronising tones and instructive notes, which is the trademark of the white voice in South Africa.
Racism in the DA is not false news. It is a reality told by its own. One of its previous chief cheerleaders Lindiwe Mazibuko, has of recent, spoken of a culture within the party that alienates black members and leaders. In 2006, there was an exodus of black MP’s who cited racism as a reason for their departure. The DA’s national 8 person national leadership team is predominantly white, as it its body of MP’s. Its policies, are testimony to its anti- black stance, most notably its commitment to property rights above land return. Vile racist comments are not foreign terrain for DA’s members, MP’s and councilors. Zille has previously denied racism, and has argued that whites just worked harder than blacks
As for Helen Zille’s recent comment on colonialism, which sparked such outrage, I am not sure that DA has the ideological aptitude to understand the monster that is colonialism. To comprehend how colonialism plunged Africa into ‘a famine induced holocaust‘’ on the see-saw of world economic development. Or grasp the scale of the destruction of the fabric of African societies as “millions died, not outside the ‘modern world system,’ but in the very process of being forcibly incorporated into its economic and political structures.  Nonetheless I do believe that there are young very brilliant black leaders in the DA who are genuine advocates for true transformation. To them I say do not sacrifice your blackness on the altar of whiteness.
By Kim Heller, media and political strategist and advocate for economic liberation