IN the current hullabaloo surrounding the DA campaign to inform voters of its history, ahead of next year’s general election, I feel it could be a good time to examine its success thus far.
The attacks from ruling party members, who are climbing on the bandwagon to give themselves considerable column space in letters pages of our still free press, encourages one to believe that the information coming out of the DA is anarchic, to say the least.
Let us examine, very briefly, what the thrust of the message is.
At the same time, we should also note that all this hot air and protestation forming part of the attacks on the DA campaign absolutely confirms that the party has hit a nerve.
It has, by opening debate, secured an enormous amount of free publicity for itself. What a coup!
Nearly 20 years since our first free and fair elections, it is true that a number of young South Africans do not realise the part that so many citizens of all hues played in securing democracy. As DA leader Helen Zille has said, many still believe that Helen Suzman was an ANC member.
It is spurious to argue that she was “never a member of the Democratic Alliance”. The Progressive Party, of which Suzman was a founder member, gave birth to what is now known as the DA.
Let us not forget that it was Zille who, as a reporter on the Rand Daily Mail, was instrumental in exposing the arrest, torture and subsequent death of Steve Biko. For that “misdemeanour”, she was investigated by the Nationalist government security police and forced to go into hiding.
So, an education campaign by the DA has had unimaginable success in the lead-up to next year. Not a rabble rousing phrase in its manifesto and yet it has caused what could be described as some mighty “fluttering in the dovecotes” of power.
Bernice Wright, DA councillor, human resources and corporate administration portfolio committee and DA heritage spokesman, Nelson Mandela Municipality