By Sentletse Diakanyo, 29 January 2014
Mamphela Ramphele has decided to abandon her Agang SA disciples and become a political front for the Democratic Alliance (DA). We have known for a while that the DA is struggling to shed its whiteness. They have tried fake tans and all but nothing has worked. Their desperate messaging to appeal to the black majority has been confusing even to their own black members. Their position on BEE was pathetic and drives the point home. The DA denies that race is a significant factor in any policy intended to transform the economy and racial inequalities. They want to seduce black voters, a tacit admission of the factor of race in South African politics, but at the same time they want to pretend as though transformation of the economy can be achieved by ignoring its racial characteristics. Solutions intended to sugarcoat the problem are not going to be too helpful.
The core constituency of the DA is white, although they want us to believe that it is black. The articulation of its policies is directly intended to protect and preserve the interests of this core constituency. The DA has been careful not to offend its traditional political base. You do not bite the hand that feeds you, so the saying goes. The reluctance to confront the racial character of the economy has continued to position the DA as a party that readily seeks to use black faces for the advancement and preservation of white minority interests. That we have the black majority who are poor and continue to exist on the periphery of the mainstream economy is of no consequence to the political posture of the DA.
The announcement that Ramphele will become the DA’s presidential candidate is laughable. Wilmot James commented that this lame development will change the axis of politics in South Africa. Ramphele has failed during her fleeting reign of Agang SA to make any impression on the voting majority. She failed to convince the black majority that she can transform their vile conditions for the better. It was clear from inception that Agang SA and the DA were the same, while their only distinguishing characteristic was colour. It then boggles the mind how anyone would believe that absorbing all four members of Agang SA would significantly improve political fortunes of the DA. The DA is merely having another Joe Seremane moment where a black face is paraded to the sniggers of the general public with no positive political gain.
The political demise of Agang SA can be the clearest indication of the political mood across the country. The people are gatvol. The people are tired of empty promises from political parties that want to use them for their own narrow interests. The people have had their patience abused for the last 20 years. They cannot wait any longer.
It is by no accident that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which agitates for radical transformation of the economy, has gained wider appeal within a short space of time and continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The people demand their economic freedom. They demand radical policies that will overhaul the racial character of this apartheid economy. The DA prefers to mislead the public with measures intended for the preservation of the economy in white hands. Radical EFF policies offend all the sensibilities of those who continue to reap the benefits of this apartheid economy. Ramphele is seen by this group of people as an amiable native they can trust to do their bidding. She can relate to them. She has amassed millions of rands through black economic empowerment which she later launched an offensive against. The DA constituency cannot be threatened by a black person who speaks their language and has no interest to agitate for radical transformation of the economy.
This lousy political development of the demise of the Agang SA only serves to highlight to the poor black majority that it is only the unapologetic and radical political parties like the EFF who would serve their immediate and long-term interests. They recognise that the ANC has failed them and that the DA continues to serve white minority interests. There can be no waiting for another 20 years. Their moment is now. The will of the impatient black majority shall eventually prevail.
Follow Sentletse Diakanyo on Twitter: @Sentletse