Sparks expected to fly at DA congress

DA Congress
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sparks expected as Democratic Alliance (DA)holds its elective congress this weekend. The 7th DA congress  will be debating issues – some members disagreed with on public platforms.

While Mmusi Maimane Party Leader and Chairperson of the Federal Council James Selfe are uncontested, the real leadership contest is between mayors Athol Trollip and Solly Msimanga for the position of Federal Chairperson.

Maimane says the congress will be “the biggest of its size, the most diverse of its size and with the largest amount of delegates we have ever seen.”

“It’s a very exciting congress and it offers something South Africans can look forward to,” says Maimane.

Maimane says the issue of race and representation in his party is an important one. The DA has come under some criticism for having mostly white people in its top leadership structures such as the federal council and its members of parliament.

Maimane is pushing for an amendment of the party’s constitution to include a diversity clause.

Some members of the DA like Gavin Davis and Michael Cordo says the diversity clause should not be about “individual freedom, a support for diversity, and a rejection of representivity”.

Davis and Cardo argue that the DA should reject using the definition of diversity which limits it’s to just representation.

Others, like Hlanganani Gumbi, argue that it is problematic that the party only recently appointed its first black female executive director, and that when such debates take place during the congress. Delegates from exclusively black townships are not present.

Maimane says this is a very important debate and after the congress people will see that “we are the only party that can work together with all South Africans.”

“The congress will demonstrate to South Africans that the DA is a party for all races, black, white, Indian and coloured, that all people can come together and that we are united on the basis of our values not on the basis to racial solidarity,” says Maimane.

The Congress will also elect new federal leadership.

Also to be discussed is the issue of land. In February, the African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters joined forces to adopt a motion to push for an amendment of the constitution to allow for government to adopt a motion of land expropriation without compensation.

The DA did not support the motions. Maimane has said that even though the DA supports land reform and restitution, they do not support seizure of private land and do not see the need to amend the constitution.

“This congress also will debate policies on the economy, on land, on issues about how do we deal with excluded South Africans. About the future of South Africans when it comes to sectors like the healthcare, policing, immigration,” says Maimane.