Letter: How will coalition redress racial imbalances?

After hefty coalition negotiations, the DA has come out smug-faced and happy about the results. Through a multiparty coalition, inclusive of the UDM, COPE and ACDP, the party managed to capture the hotly contested Nelson Mandela Bay.

A long overdue shift in power has left the ANC isolated as though it’s the untalented “fat kid” no one wants to be in his team. This had undeniably reflected the lack of confidence South Africans have in the party.

On election day it was clear the governing party seemed disoriented and fickle. As a result, at the Portuguese Club polling station, where Danny Jordaan cast his vote, there was no sign of #Asinavalo T-shirts representing the ANC, relative to the many DA officials who even ushered voters into the venue and extended appreciation to those who had just voted.

Until Jordaan arrived, one might have even assumed that the venue was reserved for a DA rally as opposed to a polling station. From a distance one could easily conclude that the party would win the ward (amid others) – and it did.

Subsequently, Athol Trollip has been sworn in as the new mayor of the metro, though some ANC officials may have tried to disrupt what was a triumphant moment for the party. However, the big elephant in the room after coalition negotiations is whether the DA will indeed deliver on its promises of “change” in service delivery and job creation, especially within black communities in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Will it, with its predominantly white structures, be able to reach out and yank black South Africans out of a poverty essentially engineered by apartheid’s white structures? This comes after also considering that the Eastern Cape is one of the country’s poorest provinces.

The ANC may have lost the metro, essentially because of its own doing, but nonetheless, the party appealed (and continues to appeal) to black ideals. So one might wonder what approach the DA will assume in making substantial changes within black communities to achieve a kind of social equality.

One might even go as far as questioning whether the party fully comprehends the consequences that apartheid created to prevent the growth and progression of black people in the country.

For the most part, it has been clear that the DA functions on a so-called “rainbow nation” disposition. But the party would be disillusioned to assume that this approach will effectively speak to the evidently grave issues perpetually manifesting in black communities.

One might use the Western Cape as an example, which the DA has also used to reference the “good work” it has done thus far. The province seems to function efficiently, but one may question the parts in which the party functions efficiently.

Urban areas are favoured by the party, much like the ANC has favoured urban areas in Nelson Mandela Bay – and so the question resurfaces: what will the DA do to speak realistically to the inequality in service delivery that black communities are subject to? Ultimately, one can only hope that this coalition will bring about a broader framework in which the party can be able to look into areas previously ostracised by the ANC – and indeed bring about a change that the country desperately needs.

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