In South Africa, just months away the 2014 general elections will take place, and the main political opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) has the experience and stand firmly behind their party name, democracy.
The DA is not a new party formed after the 1994 elections of South Africa; its roots can be traced back through political history in 1910. The present day DA is a result of the anti apartheid movement during 1970’s and formerly known as the Progressive Party and Reform Party. During that era, the leaders of this dynamic party were lead by some notable anti apartheid activists including Helen Suzman and Zach De Beer. Under the leadership of Tony Leon ascended to the official opposition party.
During 2000, the DA merged with the New National Party although this proved to be a short partnership. The DA secured a competitive percentage of the vote in that election and in 2006 won control of the Western Cape. Under the leadership of Helen Zille, the current leader, formed a alliance with a few minor parties and won an clear majority in the council of the province.
The Democratic Alliance is widely centrist and has been attributed both left and right center policies. The party is members of the Liberal International and Africa Liberal Network movements.
During 2008, the DA party promoted its party manifesto from being the opposition party to provide voters another form of government. They aggressively launched a campaign and also introduced a striking new logo featuring a rising sun over the colors of the South African flag. Their new slogan “one nation, one future” portrayed an opportunity for all people of the country to live in peace. The intention of the DA is to cultivate a rich ethnic and cultural heritage and not deteriorate into an irrelevant minority. The Democratic Alliance stands for a party for all the people of South Africa.
The ideology of the DA is an open opportunity society for all and party leader Helen Zille argues that this stands in direct contrast of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) approach to governance. The feisty Helen Zille maintains the ANC has led to a closed, buddy society for some. The DA strives for opportunity, effort and ability, irrespective of race, color or creed.
The DA has a definite monetary policy, and it is broadly centrist which supports a combination of high spending on essential social services. Education and health care are top priority and forming a strong regulatory framework. Low budget deficit and a deregulated labor market are a realistic outcome of the economic policy of the DA.
The DA approaches the crime and corruption aggressively within the borders of South Africa. Their motto “Conquering Fear, Commanding Hope” is portrayed throughout their stance on raising criminal understanding and taking steps to resolve the escalation of crime. The DA remains a loyal party to support the prison labor and development programs in various communities. Their plan remains criticized by labor unions.
In 2008, the DA took a bold stand against the South African Police Services after several officers were charged with serious criminal offences. This is an ongoing project and the councilors continue to seek solutions within this corrupt department.
Their social development plan to break the cycle of poverty continues to grow within communities, and their development skills programs are gaining momentum. Education is a vitally prominent agenda for the DA party. Their continued proposal to focus on providing adequate schooling facilities and ensure that every child has the benefit of receiving an education is an ongoing project. The DA continues to support teachers and schools within the disadvantaged communities and help to prepare the young for success.
The health sector within South Africa is failing and the DA is committed to improving and upgrading this system. Their focus is to advocate a transparent and competitive, affordable health system and improve service delivery. It is their intention to encourage health care practitioners to stay in the country.
The Democratic Alliance of South Africa, the official opposition party, moves forward toward the upcoming election this year with a determination to gain more support from the black members of society. A challenge that is not difficult to achieve. The historical facts on the difference this party has made during the last twenty years is obvious to all and can bring about the much needed change within this country. The people who ignore the selfless work of the DA are the ones who do not want to move forward into a true democratic society. However, the Democratic Alliance will continue to move forward with their fair and encouraging policies for all the people of South Africa.
By Laura Oneale